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Myles Garrett to Browns: Draft me or I'll 'punish' you


Cleveland Browns beware: If you don't draft Texas A&M pass rusher Myles Garrett with the No. 1 overall pick this April, he vows to take it out on you for the next decade.

"I'm just gonna make plays and bring a good atmosphere to your organization," Garrett told ESPN The Magazine when asked why the Browns should not take a quarterback at No. 1. "And I'm gonna start winning and winning now. And because if you don't draft me No. 1, I will punish your team for the next 10 to 12 years. I'll knock your QB out of the game every time we play you, and I'll have to kick the hell out of No. 1, whoever it is."

Garrett said that he had dinner with Browns coach Hue Jackson and that "he wasn't guaranteeing anything, but he said he'd be happy to take me."

Stories like this make me beg for the NFL draft -- April 27-29 in Philadelphia -- to get here. Unfortunately for top NFL prospects, their image is so carefully crafted and cultivated that it's hard to take everything they say seriously. Garrett says things like this because coaches want fire and intensity from a potential No. 1 overall selection. It's all about checking boxes and this interview checks every one.

Garrett said he's been studying the greats: "...from LT to Deacon Jones to Bruce Smith to Reggie White to DeMarcus Ware to J.J. Watt, then to all the big-time players across the line to the linebackers. From the very beginning, I wanted to be the best, whether it was sports or poetry."

Garrett, when asked which quarterback he'd like to sack the most, picks The Best: "Tom Brady. He is supposed to be the GOAT, so I want to take him down, show him the best can still get humbled sometimes. Also because I'm a Peyton Manning fan."

He also wants to start fast: "I gotta win Defensive Player of the Year, whether it's my first year or anywhere down the line, but that's what I'm going for in my first year. I want to be the sack leader. I want to lead in (tackles for loss). I want to be dominant from day one. I want the single-season sack record."

The interview tropes are not Garrett's fault, nor are they the fault of the interviewer, who paints a nice picture of the star defensive end. Last year, in a profile I did about eventual No. 12 pick Sheldon Rankins, I dove into the draft's image creation industry and talked to one of their most respected combine interview coaches. The sense I came away with? What NFL executives and coaches want has been boiled and reduced down to the point where it's nearly a science. In these interviews, we are getting a little bit of the guy and a lot of the person they've been encouraged to be while the spotlight is on.

Here's to the moment they know their future and the football can start. Then we can begin to appreciate Garrett for who he is on and off the field.


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