Myles Garrett

North Notes: Golson, Browns, Lions

In the past few drafts, the Steelers have made a concerted effort to bolster their defensive backfield, an area that has been something of a weakness in the second half of the Ben Roethlisberger era. The team selected a cornerback on the first or second day of the last three drafts (Cam Sutton in 2017, Artie Burns in 2016, and Senquez Golson in 2015), and safety Sean Davis was selected in the second round of the 2016 draft. Pittsburgh’s secondary was improved last season, but after it was gashed by the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, the Steelers’ coaching staff plans to implement more man coverage in 2017, as Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes. Dulac says the team is confident that Sutton and Burns can handle those concepts, but the staff is openly pessimistic about Golson, who has not played in a preseason or regular-season game in his two years in the league due to injuries. Golson, who is at least healthy enough to practice at the moment, seems to be on the verge of losing his roster spot altogether, and he may need to prove his worth on special teams just to make the club.

Now for more from the North:

  • Kenny Britt and Corey Coleman sit squarely atop the Browns‘ wide receiver depth chart, but the No. 3 job is wide open, and there are a number of second-years players who could fill that role. However, Dan Labbe of Cleveland.com says the team hopes Ricardo Louis, last year’s fourth-round selection, can be the guy. Though Louis appeared in all 16 games for the club last season, he caught just 18 passes for 205 yards, but given the big-play potential he flashed at Auburn, Cleveland will give him every opportunity to earn a key role this summer.
  • Speaking of Coleman, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com says he will be eased into the grind of training camp, and he may not be a full-go from the first day of camp. The same is true of 2017 No. 1 overall selection Myles Garrett, who suffered a left lateral foot sprain in minicamp.
  • Lions safety Miles Killebrew, a fourth-round selection in 2016, was a fixture in the team’s dime package last season, but as Kyle Meinke of MLive.com writes, Killebrew could be in for a much bigger role in 2017. The Southern Utah product is currently listed as the third safety on the depth chart behind Glover Quin and Tavon Wilson, but Meinke believes Killebrew could push Wilson for the starting strong safety job with a solid training camp. As we learned yesterday, the Lions and Quin are discussing a new contract.
  • Jake Rudock lost the Lions‘ backup quarterback competition to Dan Orlovsky last season because of Orlovsky’s experience and knowledge of the team’s offense, but now Rudock himself is the player with the experience advantage. As Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com writes, Rudock’s grasp of OC Jim Bob Cooter’s scheme is miles ahead of rookie Brad Kaaya‘s, thereby making Rudock almost a lock for the backup job.

Myles Garrett Diagnosed With Foot Sprain

Myles Garrett did not complete the Browns’ three-day minicamp, sitting out the final day before leaving Cleveland while in a walking boot after suffering an injury Wednesday. But the team shed some light on the No. 1 overall pick’s situation on Saturday.

The former Texas A&M phenom suffered a left lateral foot sprain, the team revealed (via Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com). Two doctors confirmed the diagnosis, per Cabot, who adds the Browns expect him to be ready for training camp. Rookies report to Berea, Ohio, on July 25, giving Garrett just more than five weeks to recover.

Garrett suffered the injury while rushing Brock Osweiler in a two-minute setting. The Browns excused the defensive end from the last day of minicamp Thursday and from attending a youth clinic with the team’s rookies at FirstEnergy Stadium a day later. The team hoped Garrett avoided structural damage, and it appears he has. But the injury to the left foot could be a sign of concern because of the left ankle trouble he had during the 2016 season.

Garrett missed some time during OTAs with a sore foot but had left ankle trouble last season while at Texas A&M. The high ankle sprain limited Garrett to 10 games as a junior. He registered 8.5 sacks, which were a career low, and 4.5 of those came against Texas-San Antonio.

North Notes: Browns, Ravens, Lions, Vikings

Browns edge rusher Myles Garrett, the first pick in this year’s draft, suffered a left foot injury Wednesday that left him in “obvious pain,” reports Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland. A day later, Garrett sat out practice as team doctors evaluated his foot, a club spokesman announced. The Browns won’t provide further details on Garrett’s ailment, per Cabot, who relays that the injury likely isn’t serious. Meanwhile, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that Garrett should be “fine.” Foot issues are nothing new for Garrett, who dealt with soreness throughout organized team activities and battled a high ankle sprain during his final year at Texas A&M last season. Fortunately, though, it looks as if he and the Browns will escape relatively unscathed in this instance.

More from the NFL’s North divisions:

  • Unsurprisingly, it appears injured tight end Dennis Pitta‘s release from the Ravens last week will bring an end to his career. When speaking with reporters Thursday, Pitta didn’t announce his retirement, but he conceded, “I’m not delusional” (Twitter link via Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun). Hip problems limited Pitta to seven games from 2013-15, but he returned last season to post a 16-game campaign and catch a team-high 86 passes. The soon-to-be 32-year-old suffered a hip dislocation earlier this month, though, leading the Ravens to cut ties after seven seasons.
  • In his first meeting with the Detroit media on Thursday, newly acquired Lions offensive tackle Greg Robinson called the trade that sent him from Los Angeles to the Motor City “a big surprise,” per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Robinson busted with the Rams, who selected him second overall in 2014, and acknowledged that things “haven’t really went the way I would like” to this point. The 24-year-old expects to jump-start his career in Detroit, however. “I plan on benefiting from (my fresh start) tremendously,” Robinson declared. “It’s really refreshing and I plan to make the most out of it.”
  • Browns quarterback Brock Osweiler has been “very happy” with his performance this spring, and the ex-Texan explained Wednesday why his play has improved from his disastrous 2016 in Houston. “The best part is I’m getting coached hard on my fundamentals,” Osweiler said, via Nate Ulrich of Ohio.com. “And I believe firmly that when your fundamentals and your feet are right as a quarterback, you’re going to make great decisions and you’re going to throw accurate footballs.” Osweiler added that his “fundamentals slid” last year, but he declined “to go into great detail” on why. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk interprets Osweiler’s remarks as a shot at the Texans’ coaching staff, particularly Bill O’Brien, who didn’t get along well with the signal-caller last season.
  • Defensive back Lardarius Webb experienced a “tepid market” during his month of unemployment before re-signing with the Ravens in May, as Zrebiec details. The only club known to have expressed interest in the 31-year-old Webb was the Vikings, although Baltimore reportedly had interest in bringing Webb back almost instantly after releasing him. The Ravens saved $5.5MM in cap space by originally cutting ties with Webb, who has since inked a new three-year deal worth $6.3MM (with another $1.4MM available annually via incentives).
  • Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer indicated Wednesday that both kicker Kai Forbath and punter Ryan Quigley will have to fight for their jobs this summer, telling reporters that “there’s an open competition” at both spots (via Mark Craig of the Star Tribune). Forbath, whom the Vikings signed last November after releasing Blair Walsh, made all 15 of his field goal attempts with Minnesota in 2016 but will battle second-year man Marshall Koehn to stay with the club. “He’s got the stronger leg,” Priefer said of Koehn. “This kid is coming on strong. It’s a great competition.” Quigley, an April signing, will try to fend off another second-year player, Taylor Symmank, after averaging a career-worst 41.6 yards per punt on 34 attempts with the Cardinals last season.

Dallas Robinson contributed to this post.

Browns Sign No. 1 Overall Pick Myles Garrett

Myles Garrett is officially a member of the Browns. The No. 1 overall pick has signed his rookie deal, according to a team announcement. Myles Garrett Browns

As dictated by his slot, Garrett’s four-year deal is worth $30.412MM with a hefty signing bonus of $20.258MM. The rookie will be well-compensated, but he’ll also be one of the position’s best bargains over the next four years if he is anywhere near as good as evaluators believe him to be. The market for defensive ends is presently sky-high with contracts exceeding $15MM per year for top earners like Muhammad Wilkerson, J.J. WattOlivier Vernon, and Jason Pierre-Paul.

The deal includes offset language, a source tells Albert Breer of The MMQB (on Twitter). This means the Browns can save some money if they wind up releasing the No. 1 pick at some point during his rookie deal. In that (unlikely) event, the Browns would get out of some of their obligation if Garrett’s signs with a new club. For example, if Garrett has $4MM in guaranteed money left on his contract at the time of his release and he signs with a new club on a $1MM deal, the Browns will only be on the hook for $3MM, with the new team making up the difference.

Garrett was the consensus top prospect in the 2017 draft for months, but the Browns tried to throw the football world a curve by giving some reporters the impression that UNC quarterback Mitch Trubisky was a consideration on draft day. Ultimately, the Browns made the selection that was widely seen as a no-brainer. Garrett is believed to be about as much of a can’t-miss prospect as you can get in the draft and all signs are pointing to a Pro Bowl career in his future.

Garrett figures to be a Week 1 starter for the Browns at defensive end with second-year DE Emmanuel Ogbah at the other bookend.

Browns Select Myles Garrett With No. 1 Pick

After what was reportedly ample internal debate, the Browns have officially selected Texas A&M edge rusher Myles Garrett with the No. 1 overall pick.Myles Garrett Browns

Garrett had been the consensus top prospect in the 2017 draft for some time, as nearly every draft board listed the Aggie pass rusher atop the list. Both of PFR’s mock drafts projected Garrett to Cleveland, as did most of the draft community, but the Browns’ need for a franchise quarterback seemingly invaded the club’s recent thinking. Cleveland’s front office was reportedly also considering North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky with the first overall selection — perhaps at the behest of owner Jimmy Haslam — and may still trade up from pick No. 12 in order to secure the signal-caller.

Instead of opting for a passer, however, the Browns have selected Garrett, who’s viewed as an eminently safe pick with the upside of one of the NFL’s best defenders. Cleveland had placed an “astronomical grade” on Garrett during the 2016 collegiate football season, and was subsequently “blown away” by Garrett’s combine performance: he weighed in at 272 pounds, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.64 seconds, and posted 33 bench press reps.

Garrett boasts the measurables of a No. 1 overall pick, and his statistical production at Texas A&M was also eye-popping. In three seasons in College Station, Garrett posted 31 sacks and 47 tackles for loss (even while dealing with injuries during his final year with the Aggies). He also graded as a top-three edge defender during all three of his collegiate campaigns, according to Pro Football Focus.

The Browns can use that type of performance, as they ranked just 30th in sacks and 23rd in adjusted sack percentage in 2016. Garrett immediately becomes the best pass-rusher on the Cleveland defense, which saw rookie Emmanuel Ogbah lead the club with six sacks last season. Garrett will now line up in a Browns front seven that also includes Jamie Collins, Demario Davis, Desmond Bryant, Danny Shelton, Carl Nassib, and Ogbah.

Photo courtesy of Pro Football Rumors on Instagram.

Browns To Select Myles Garrett No. 1 Overall

Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett will be the Browns No. 1 pick, multiple league sources tell Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. Meanwhile, someone in the know tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link) that the top pick will be someone “who is clearly, clearly better than anyone else.” With all due respect to UNC quarterback Mitch Trubisky, that’s another strong indication that the pick will be Garrett. Myles Garrett (Vertical)

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In recent days, there were some whispers that Trubisky might be the No.1 pick by Cleveland. Cabot hears that team brass met this afternoon to solidify the decision, which would indicate that there was some debate over the best course of action. For what it’s worth, top executive Sashi Brown recently said that the team’s decision was made roughly two weeks ago, so it’s hard to know what to believe. Regardless, Garrett appears poised to be the top pick.

The Browns are apparently taking the best player available at No. 1, but it’s still wide open after that.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Browns’ Draft Plans

Will Myles Garrett or Mitch Trubisky be the first player off the board? Right now, Garrett remains the “likely” No. 1 overall pick for the Browns, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com writes. Meanwhile, the Browns continue to try and work their way up to the top eight, presumably to draft Trubisky, Cabot hears. Mitch Trubisky (Vertical)

On Wednesday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com became the latest insider to report that Trubisky is a very real possibility for the No. 1 overall pick. At this point, it’s hard to get a grip on exactly what is going on. Last year, the Rams were reportedly encouraged by the league office to shroud their selection of Jared Goff in secrecy, and we could be seeing something similar play out with the Browns. Alternatively, this could be some gamesmanship on the part of the Browns to throw everyone’s draft board into flux.

What we do know is that the Browns are exploring all possibilities for the draft as a whole. The Browns have contacted roughly 27 teams with interest in moving up or down, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. With the No. 1, No. 12, No. 33 and No. 52 overall picks (plus many more), the Browns are strategizing for all possibilities.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Browns’ First-Round Picks

Cleveland has reportedly had discussions with multiple teams about trading up from the 12th overall pick in the draft, but the club also seems to have interest in moving down. The Browns called teams below them on Wednesday to ask if any would be interested in acquiring the 12th selection, reports Michael Lombardi of The Ringer (Twitter links).

Mitch Trubisky Instagram

The 12th choice is the Browns’ second, of course, after the No. 1 overall pick. They’re “locked in” at the top spot, notes Lombardi, though it’s still not clear whether they’ll take Texas A&M pass rusher Myles Garrett or North Carolina quarterback/Ohio native Mitch Trubisky. This is only speculation, but the fact that the Browns would consider moving down from No. 12 could be a sign that they’re leaning toward Trubisky, who seems unlikely to be available when they’re on the clock for the second time in Round 1. Notably, the organization’s Trubisky fansperhaps including owner Jimmy Haslam – fear he won’t fall to 12.

Ultimately, the Browns probably will make Garrett the No. 1 overall selection, according to Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter isn’t as confident. Trubisky is “square in consideration,” per Schefter, and “very smart, very well-connected people” have told him that the Tar Heel will be the first pick on Thursday (via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk).

Photo via Pro Football Rumors’ Instagram account.

PFR’s 2017 Live NFL Mock Draft

The 2017 NFL Draft begins on Thursday night, and Pro Football Rumors is back with its second mock draft of the year. While our initial mock attempted to project what will happen in Round 1, we’ve taken a different approach for mock draft 2.0.

PFR editor Zach Links and I conducted this live mock draft on Tuesday morning, rotating picks and breaking down what we would do were we in charge of these selections. We posted each pick on Twitter, followed by a short explanation of our thought process on this page.

Here’s the complete mock:

1. Cleveland Browns (Zach) – Myles Garrett, LB, Texas A&M

I suspect this is the easiest pick either one of us will make all day. Garrett is the best pure talent in this year’s draft and the Browns would be foolish to go in any other direction at the top of the draft.

2. San Francisco 49ers (Dallas) – Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State

Reports that the 49ers are considering a quarterback with the second overall selection stand out as a potential smokescreen, and instead San Francisco uses the No. 2 pick to bolster its defense. Hooker, who recently earned a full medical clearance following combine rechecks, has been commonly linked to the Chargers as a perfect fit for Los Angeles defensive coordinator Gus Bradley‘s scheme. But the 49ers are running the same defensive look as the Chargers under new DC Robert Saleh, and Hooker would give the team a centerfielder with the upside of an Earl Thomas. San Francisco’s plan to convert nickel cornerback Jimmie Ward to safety won’t stop it from adding Hooker, who is possibly the draft’s No. 2 overall prospect.

3. Chicago Bears (Zach) – Solomon Thomas, DL, Stanford 

Dallas’ bold pick left my Bears with a golden opportunity. The Bears could go safety or cornerback in this scenario, but the talent of Thomas is too good to pass up. Thomas can be used on both the inside and outside of the Bears’ defensive line and I see him as one of the safest talents on the board.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars (Dallas) – Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State

No, we didn’t forget the Jaguars used a top-five pick on Jalen Ramsey in 2016 and then handed a $67.5MM contract to A.J. Bouye in free agency last month. But one of Ramsey’s key selling points last year was his versatility: while he’s a shutdown corner at his best, Ramsey can man the slot, cover tight ends, and dabble at safety. As such, adding Conley doesn’t mean Jacksonville is facing cornerback overload, especially given that NFL clubs are in the nickel more than two-thirds of the time. Conley is viewed as a safer prospect than his Ohio State teammate Marshon Lattimore, and he’d give the Jaguars a Broncos-like secondary.

5. Tennessee Titans (Zach) – Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State

The Titans, arguably, get the best cornerback available in the draft even though they are the second team to address the position. No, we don’t have a ton of film to go on for Lattimore, but his combine numbers indicate that he could be a megastar. Few teams in the NFL would have a young cornerback duo like the Titans if they can pair Logan Ryan with Lattimore.Mitch Trubisky Instagram

6. Cleveland Browns (projected trade with Jets) (Dallas) – Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina

In need of a franchise quarterback, the Browns send the No. 12 and No. 52 pick to the Jets in exchange for No. 6 with the intention of drafting Trubisky. It’s a slight overpay for Cleveland (at least, based on Chase Stuart of Football Perspective‘s draft value chart, which is likely what the Browns front offices uses), but it does the deal anyway to land a long-term option under center. Given that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is reportedly pressing the club to select a quarterback early — and the fact the Cleveland may still be considering Trubisky with the first overall selection — landing the UNC signal-caller at No. 5 for the cost of a mid-second-round pick is a move the Browns can’t pass up.

7. Los Angeles Chargers (Zach) – Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama

In this scenario, it seems like Allen’s subpar workouts have led to a bit of a drop. His size (6’3″) is a bit of a concern, but he has the ability to be an effective defensive end while spending some time on the inside as well. Allen would look great lining up on the opposite end of Joey Bosa.

8. Carolina Panthers (Dallas) – Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan

Sitting at pick No. 8, the Panthers certainly have options. General manager Dave Gettleman & Co. could go after a running back like Leonard Fournette or Christian McCaffrey, bring in a young edge rusher to play alongside veterans like Charles Johnson and Julius Peppers, or even reach for an offensive tackle given Michael Oher‘s health questions. With Ted Ginn Jr. and Corey Brown having defected via free agency, the Panthers need another wideout to pair with Kelvin Benjamin. Enter Davis, who topped 1,400 yards and 12 touchdowns in each of the past three seasons.

9. Cincinnati Bengals (Zach) – Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama

Foster’s stock, by all accounts, is slipping after he turned in a diluted urine sample and got into an argument with a hospital worker at the combine. However, with other teams in the market for an inside linebacker (like the Jets at No. 12, for example), it would be somewhat risky to trade down into the teens and expect Foster to still be there. The Bengals have been willing to overlook character concerns in the past, so I see no reason why they can’t do the same here and land the Alabama star.

10. Buffalo Bills (Dallas) – Jamal Adams, S, LSU

While the Bills gave Jordan Poyer a four-year deal with $6MM in guarantees earlier this offseason, I’m still not convinced Buffalo views him as a definite starter. Those questions come to the forefront with Adams still on the board, and the Bills don’t hesitate to take the LSU defensive back. With ex-Packer Micah Hyde also in the fold, Buffalo can field one of the more diverse and flexible safety tandems in the league. Adams is viewed as a leader in the locker room, and has been favorably compared to former Cowboys All Pro Darren Woodson by Lance Zierlein of NFL.com.

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NFL Draft Rumors: Mixon, Raiders, Eagles

Is Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon the most talented player in this year’s draft? One nameless personnel executive told Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel he believes that to be the case. The other execs surveyed, naturally, went in different directions. Texas A&M star Myles Garrett got 11 votes, LSU safety Jamal Adams got two, and there was one vote cast for Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster and Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas. Unlike the others, Mixon doesn’t necessarily seem likely to go in the first round.

Here’s the latest NFL Draft buzz: