The Cleveland Browns had a disappointing 2021 season, finishing 8-9 and failing to qualify for the NFL playoffs.
Their pass defense was a big culprit, as were a couple of close losses towards the end of the schedule to the Las Vegas Raiders, who weren’t much better than them, and the Green Bay Packers.
With OTAs fast approaching and training camp about two months away, one key member of the Browns appears to be ready for the new season and the promise it seems to hold.
Myles Garrett, the team’s star defensive end, looks like he’s been hitting the gym and getting himself in top shape in advance of the 2022 campaign.
— D-Ware (@DeMarcusWare) May 9, 2022
Garrett Has Become A Monster
When the Browns took Garrett with the first overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, they had high hopes for him.
His rookie season was promising, but perhaps not all some hoped it would be, as he recorded seven sacks, nine tackles for loss and 18 quarterback hits in 11 games (nine as a starter).
But in 2018, he started to realize his potential by putting up 13.5 sacks and 29 QB hits, which got him his first trip to the Pro Bowl.
In 2020, he got his second Pro Bowl nod while being named to the All-Pro First-team with 12 sacks, helping Cleveland reach the playoffs and win its first postseason game in about a quarter-century.
This past season he again made his way to the Pro Bowl and All-Pro First-team with 16 sacks, 17 tackles for loss and 33 QB hits.
At 6-foot-4 and about 270 pounds, he is an imposing presence, and he has given the Browns some much-needed help on their front seven.
— OBR Film Breakdown (@TheOBRFilmBDN) October 4, 2021
MYLES GARRETT DESERVES DPOY 😤pic.twitter.com/kik6C7LwrB
— PFF CLE Browns (@PFF_Browns) December 12, 2021
At home, the Texas native built a quarterback graveyard, and he even inspired Bruce Smith, one of the prominent pass rushers of the 1990s, to build his own.
Hall of Fame DE Bruce Smith was inspired by Myles Garrett’s QB graveyard 💀pic.twitter.com/oXFkQ6pyv8
— The MMQB (@theMMQB) October 27, 2021
Cleveland Looks Stronger, But Garrett Could Use Some Help
However, there is still work to do if they want to truly challenge for the AFC North crown.
That was the role of Jadeveon Clowney this past season, and he played it well, recording nine sacks and 19 QB hits in 14 contests.
He is still a free agent as of this writing, but Garrett made it clear that he wants Clowney by his side in 2022.
Keeping him around would take the burden off Garrett while allowing Cleveland to make opposing QBs uncomfortable.
Of course, the Mayfield saga continues, as he wants nothing to do with the Browns anymore, and the feeling is mutual.
The Carolina Panthers may have some interest in him, but the interest, at least for now, seems to be tepid at best.
Solving the Mayfield dilemma by trading or releasing him, although the latter seems very unlikely, would be like getting rid of a stubborn cloud that keeps hanging over the team.