Over these next football-less months, I'll take you through several of the top prospects that could go early in the 2017 NFL Draft. With the Titans holding two first round picks and still in rebuild mode, odds are high that they'll once again be picking in the top ten once again. It's time to start getting familiar with some of the top names. Let's kick things off with Texas A&M pass rusher Myles Garrett.
After a draft class that boasted no blue chip pass rushing prospect in 2016, Myles Garrett and company are just what the doctor ordered. Garrett is one of a couple of pass rushing prospects that could go inside the top five next April. He's got the size and athletic ability to dominate at the next level and should put on a big show at Texas A&M this season.
Garrett is 6-5, 262 pounds and mans the EDGE in Texas A&M's 4-3 attack. His best trait is his athletic ability and explosion off the edge. Garrett wins plenty of snaps by simply being faster than the tackle that is trying to block him -- like the play below, for example.
This is complete dominance from a superior athlete. The left tackle has no chance. By the time he engages Garrett, he's already lost. Garrett turns the corner and gets a key sack on 3rd and 8.
Here's another passing down from the same game. Garrett pins his ears back and flies off the ball once again, beating this poor left tackle for another sack.
You can see Garrett's bending ability here as he gets around the corner yet again. His ability to stay on balance here while keeping his speed is what makes him special. There are plenty of fast pass rushers, but there are few who can turn the corner consistently and stay balanced.
He's no slouch against the run either. I've seen him shoot some gaps and blow up a couple of rushing attempts up the middle. In the limited time that I've seen Garrett in space, he shows nice change of direction ability along with a great burst to close the gap on ball carriers.
You can see Garrett's launch ability with a hand in the dirt in the play above. He immediately wins the leverage battle inside the tackle's right shoulder and drives the entire play backwards. That's a big time stop on 3rd and goal.
Garrett's biggest one on one match-up of 2015 didn't go well for him. Top prospect Laremy Tunsil got the best of him, neutralizing his athleticism and speed. I thought the game exposed a couple of flaws in Garrett that he can work to clean up for 2016. Take a look at the cutup and see for yourself.
Tunsil wasn't letting him win with speed and Garrett had no answer. He was totally shut down as a pass rusher and showed no counter moves that could get him past the star left tackle. Let's keep in mind that Tunsil was an all-world, rare prospect (on the field), but I was still disappointed to see such a lopsided victory between two top prospects.
Garrett doesn't have that quick twitch feel to him that many of the great pass rushers do. He can win with acceleration and speed, but I haven't necessarily seen him win with redirection. He's just an ultra smooth athlete that eats up space with his long, powerful strides.
If Garrett can add to his bag of tricks as a pass rusher, look out. He'll have to have multiple ways to win in the NFL to live up to his billing as a top five pick, so I hope to see Garrett show some improvements using his length and hands this season.