The Cleveland Browns have not had the season they would have hoped for. The team could have/should have won at least four of their first five games of the season but one play in each ruined those chances.
For DE Myles Garrett, a car accident almost ruined his season.
Instead, Garrett is having a Defensive Player of the Year type season that would also be in consideration for MVP if that award didn’t lean heavily toward the offensive side of the ball.
The Browns top pick in 2017 has been a one-man wrecking crew this season on a defense that has struggled mightily at times. Despite the limitations around him (and missing a game after the accident), Garrett is fifth in the NFL with 7.5 sacks. He is one sack behind league leader Za’Darius Smith.
He also has eight tackles for loss, two pass deflections and two forced fumbles.
If those stats aren’t enough, Pro Football Focus (which grades each play not just based on results) has Garrett as the highest-graded player in the league so far this season:
The highest-graded player in football this season:— PFF (@PFF) November 2, 2022
Myles Garrett pic.twitter.com/KbJww4EUoJ
You read that correctly. Not “highest-graded edge rusher.” Not “highest-graded defender.” Highest-graded player in the NFL through Week 8 of the NFL season.
ESPN credits Garrett with the second-highest pass rush win rate in the league, just behind Micah Parsons.
Given some of the other concerns around the defense, Garrett is often double and triple-teamed. According to one metric over the last few seasons, he has faced difficult quality of blocking compared to top rushers like Joey Bosa, T.J. Watt, Von Miller and Maxx Crosby, to name a few, but still continues to produce at a high level:
I like to reference Timo’s work to confirm priors and yea Burns is good, but I don’t think he’s 2-first rounders good pic.twitter.com/XEdyZyjsoe— Arjun Menon (@arjunmenon100) November 1, 2022
If Garrett can keep this up for the second half (plus one game) of the season, not only will he be in contention for DPOY and, perhaps, MVP but he will be a key component if Cleveland is able to stay in the playoff hunt.