BEREA, Ohio -- Myles Garrett took a lot of criticism for “taking plays off” and not going with “full effort” on every play during his junior season at Texas A&M last fall, but the fact that he was on the field at all was a testament to his toughness, both physically and mentally.

Garrett played much of the 2016 season with a high ankle sprain that hampered his production, but not enough to hurt his stock in the 2017 NFL Draft, as the Cleveland Browns took him with the No. 1 overall pick last Thursday night.

“One of the worst foot injuries I have had, and I fractured a growth plate when I was in high school in a weightlifting accident,” Garrett recalled during his introductory press conference. “That didn’t hang on for so long. It was a thing, it healed up and it went right back to working, but that ankle sprain hung on for a while.”

In 34 games over his three years with the Aggies, Garrett registered 141 total tackles, including 81 solo stops and 60 assists, with 31.0 quarterback sacks, seven forced fumbles, one recovery, five passes defended and one interception.

After having 11 and 11.5 sacks in each of his first two years at Texas A&M, Garrett registered 8.5 sacks during the 2016 season despite the ankle issue.

“They wanted me to get some rest, but I love my guys too much to sit out and have to watch them without me,” Garrett said. “I know I wanted to be there and struggling and grinding with them. I wanted to do my best for them because they deserve it. So do the coaches, the fans and everybody else who was part of my time at Texas A&M.

“I couldn’t get that explosiveness, that step past the offensive tackle like I wanted or that step to the left when I am trying to go to the guard, but I gave what I could.”

On the advice of former NFL head coach Jeff Fisher, the 6-foot-5, 261-pound Garrett participated in the drills at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine and shined.

Among all defensive line prospects, Garrett placed sixth in the 40-yard dash (4.64 seconds), second in the bench press (33 repetitions), first in the vertical jump (41.0 inches) and third in the broad jump (128.0 inches).

“Jeff Fisher definitely helped me with my decision to actually compete in The Combine,” Garrett said. “I was having second thoughts and I wanted to make sure my ankle was absolutely 100 percent.

“I was wavering, and he said, ‘This is a big thing. It gets no bigger than this. You are going to be on the largest stage of them all, and if you show out, there will be no doubts. If you know your stuff as well and you are confident in your intelligence and you are confident in your ankle, then you will be just fine.’”