Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is entering his 28th season coaching in the NFL as an assistant, coordinator or head man. Over that time, Williams has worked with some impressive rookies -- Aaron Donald comes to mind -- but no one who made the transition as fast as 2017 No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett.
"I've never had a chance to draft the first overall pick ever, but I've had some pretty high draft picks,'' said Williams, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "He's the one that has jumped out and fit in faster than any of the other ones, and I have had some really, really good ones. The reason that he moved up the depth chart was because of him and his teammates, not because of my evaluation.''
Williams listed several reasons he loves the mindset of his athletic pass-rushing rookie: From how Garrett handled starting down on the depth chart, to locker-room interactions, to being humble and respectful.
Garrett rose quickly from starting third on the depth chart during camp to the first-team unit.
In his first preseason game, the first-round pick didn't record a sack, but he disrupted the New Orleans Saints' backfield, earned a few double teams and flew off the edge at times. During camp, Garrett's fellow teammates lobbied for the rookie to be on the field more, according to Williams.
"He handled the threes, he handled the twos, he got some spot time on one and then when the other players, the veteran players came to me and said, 'Hey, do you know we are better when he is in there?' Really? Well, now you are going to own him. I don't have to force him down your throat. You're going to own him,'' Williams said.
"They just fit in together. He's done well. He played the run very well last week. He was very disruptive on the things that we ask him to do in the pass game. I can tell you this, you go back and watch the film, they were pointing to where he was. The Saints knew where he was."
Garrett will be expected to live up to the hype on a much faster Cleveland defense than the milquetoast units we've seen the past few years. If Garrett is as good as Williams seems to believe, a major foundational piece is in place for the perennially rebuilding Browns.