The Cleveland Browns wanted to revamp their defensive line this year and build around Myles Garrett. DE Jadeveon Clowney was not re-signed. DT Taven Bryan played out his one-year deal and then signed a single-season contract with the Indianapolis Colts. DEs Chris Odom and Chase Winovich were both one-and-done.
In last year’s draft, Cleveland brought in Isaiah Thomas and Alex Wright. During free agency this spring, DE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo was signed away from the Houston Texans.
In the fourth round of the 2023 NFL draft. GM Andrew Berry selected DE Isaiah McGuire from the University of Missouri with the 126th selection.
The appeal to McGuire is that has plenty of power and athleticism. His first step off the snap is dangerous and echoes a form of urgency. He will provide a good pass rush.
Selected as a developmental prospect, McGuire will get snaps on the defense this year just as Wright and Thomas did last season. He is a player that will have time for growth and develop his expertise threatening the width of the pocket. At this level, McGuire needs some tutelage on how to finish and become more of a factor in trailing plays.
The scouting report on The Draft Network:
“McGuire brings unquestioned effort on every snap and I like his enthusiasm to rally to the football. He understands rush angles and how to use his feet to complement his rush plan. I appreciate the year-over-year growth that McGuire has illustrated to this point in his career and he’s an ascending talent. As a run defender, McGuire has the functional strength needed to set the edge but I also like his ability to wreak havoc off the edge and disrupt. McGuire features good length and offers appeal as both a 3-4 outside linebacker and hand-in-the-dirt even front end.”
Last year as rookies, Wright played on 542 defensive snaps, or 49.77% of plays, while Thomas had 162 defensive snaps or 14.88% of plays. Expect both of these players to increase playing time this year, and McGuire to see numbers similar to what Thomas received last year.
McGuire (6’-4”, 272 pounds) grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and attended Union High School. He was a three-star recruit in football.
He had offers from Missouri State, Northeastern State, Pittsburg State, Missouri, and Abilene Christian. He only went on one official visit to Missouri and felt a sense of home, so he committed. At the time, McGuire was the 12th-rated high school football prospect in the State of Oklahoma.
The University of Missouri did not redshirt him but instead played him quite a bit as a freshman. He had six starts and finished with four tackles for the year. In his sophomore year, he shared snaps with just five starts and ended with 22 tackles, four tackles for loss, one forced fumble, and three sacks.
In his junior year, he began to shine. He started every game and finished fourth on the team in tackles with 55 and led Missouri in sacks with six. In the bowl game against Army, McGuire had 13 tackles.
As a senior, he started in all 12 games during the regular season which made 23 straight starts on the defensive line. That year he finished with 39 total tackles, 13 tackles-for-loss (second on the team), 7.5 sacks, and four QB hurries. The productive defensive end was named Captain for his senior year.
McGuire’s college coach Kirk Fridrich stated the following to the Columbia Daily:
“Here’s this tall, good-looking kid and in a couple of years he’s going to be really good. I felt like (he’d be) a really strong defensive end, and in a few years that came true for us.”
Which means McGuire had starts in all four years. He had just 22 total tackles in his first two seasons along with three sacks. In his final two years, those numbers jumped to 95 tackles with 14.5 sacks.
IN CLEVELAND WE EAT QBS— Nick Karns (@karnsies817) April 29, 2023
32 tackles for loss.
Welcome Isaiah McGuire!!! pic.twitter.com/D0hRBIec12
After his senior year, he was named First Team All-SEC. He was later invited to the Reese’s Senior Bowl.
NFL Draft Day 3
McGuire runs a 4.76 in the 40 with a vertical jump of 36.5”. He was a teammate of Browns DT Jordan Elliott at Missouri.
McGuire has value as most draft pick sites had him listed on their Big Boards around the mid-80s. And Cleveland nabbed him with the 126th pick?
His Twitter handle is @IsaiahMac_93.
Top Reasons to buy into McGuire’s game? He is excellent at run defense. After last season, DC Jim Schwartz outlined what needed to be done to stop the floodgates from last season when every team had their way running the ball.
Another aspect of his game is his physical traits. McGuire also has a high motor and is very good at trailing the run and will often make tackles from the backside pursuit. One more thing, he is a beast with a nasty demeanor.
After McGuire was taken by the Cleveland, Browns Director of Player Personnel Dan Saganey stated:
“Isaiah is a long defensive end with some good pass-rush upside. We’re going to be an attacking up-the-field defense and looking forward to seeing him rush off of the edge. We do think he eventually has the ability to rush inside, as well. High-motor player who has been very productive in the SEC and again excited to add to the D-line any chance we get.”
As far as weaknesses, there are some that will need to be worked on.
McGuire will often be relocated out of his gap by larger offensive linemen. He also has an issue with staying separated once he breaks free at the point of attack and thus is susceptible to being manhandled again. When he is on a single man, he will need to be a bit more struggle to his charge. And another thing that jumps off the tape about McGuire: he is too reliant on using brute power over the talent and pass-rushing skills he owns.
But that is what McGuire and most of the 2023 draft class were selected for: to develop and become better professional football players. There is time to develop their talent because most positions are good as far as talent and depth.
Will McGuire play much this year? On special teams – yes. With defensive snaps? Some. Preparation, grooming, and education from the Browns coaching staff will develop him into a player that this franchise can depend on going forward.
What player wouldn’t welcome the opportunity to be tutored for a year under Myles Garrett?