Hey, Cleveland! It’s almost show time! Training camp is in full swing and preseason games will be underway quicker than you can say “Here we go Brownies.” Our Browns just had one of the most successful drafts in their history. And while I am keeping my expectations realistic, it’s tough to look at these rookies and not draw some comparisons with a few of the Cleveland Browns legendary players.
A natural choice to look at is our number one draft pick, Miles Garrett. Garrett’s skills and stats are no secret to anyone with interest in football. He was projected to go at number one in the draft and was called the top prospect and best defensive end by Sports Illustrated, ESPN, Pro Football Focus and NFLDraftScout.com.
While his skills are yet untested in the NFL, Garrett was a dominant player at Texas A & M. Comparing his style of play to a raptor, Garrett says his style is “fast and vicious.” If he lives up to the hype, I see no reason why Garrett would not be a part of our starting defense.
I think a legendary Browns player that Garrett compares to is the late Lyle Alzado. When Alzado came to Cleveland after a contract dispute in Denver, he brought along a tremendously smash mouth style of play. Called “violent and combative” by ESPN, Alzado was a force to be reckoned with not just in Cleveland, but throughout his 15-year NFL career.
Alzado played just three seasons in Cleveland, but his personality was such a great fit with our tough, blue-collar town image. Myles Garrett famously stated before the draft that he was not looking to go to a cold-weather team. Adversity, weather related or otherwise, fueled Alzado’s famously aggressive side. It seemed to help bring out the beast inside of him.
Matching stats on the two defensive ends is nearly impossible. Prior to 1982, sacks were not kept as official statistics by the NFL. Likewise, stats on tackles and assisted tackles did not become legitimate stats in the NFL until 1994. Sadly, this leaves much of Alzado’s career off of official paper, and his dominant career is best chronicled by highlight reels and remembrances.
And what of Miles Garrett? If he stays on his projected path, Garrett is on pace to become a dominant Cleveland Browns legend and who knows, maybe he can score a Hall of Fame induction too.
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