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Christian Kirksey confident Browns DE Myles Garrett ‘can definitely win NFL Defensive Player of the Year’

The Cleveland Browns have taken notice of Myles Garrett's increased productivity through the first five days of training camp.

BEREA, Ohio — Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett had a Pro Bowl season in 2018 and was second-team All-Pro for his efforts in disrupting opposing backfields, but he is not resting on his past accomplishments, not when there are designs on greater things.

And Garrett’s teammates, specifically the linebackers, have noticed that he is working hard during every drill in training camp with the Browns.

“Myles is trying to be great, you’ve got to respect it,” linebacker Christian Kirksey said. “He is only going into Year 3, which is amazing. He is trying to be the best defensive end in the league, and you’ve got to respect it. He is going to ramp it up a notch. He is going to ramp up the intensity and be a huge playmaker for us.

“I think the same focus is there. He just has more experience. He’s going into Year 3, so as you get older, your play goes to another level. He’s comfortable in what he’s doing in this defense, which is allowing him to let loose and do what he does best, which is rush the passer. Myles is a guy that can do just about anything. I’m very proud of what he’s doing, and he’s going to be a great leader for us.”

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Kirksey noticed an extra pep in Garrett’s step when the Browns took the field Monday for their fifth straight day of practice.

Kirksey believes Garrett was extra motivated after being ranked No. 49 overall in the NFL Top 100 Players.

“We’re all working on being Defensive Player of the Year,” Kirksey said.

“I think that’s everybody’s mindset, but Myles can definitely do it. He has all the attributes. He’s a guy that can learn fast. He’s physically fast and strong. I think he was just No. 49 in the Top 100, which kind of pissed him off. He’s definitely working, and he’s going to get everything he wants.”

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Fully healthy coming into the 2018 season, Garrett emerged as a leader for the Browns’ defense and registered 44 total tackles, including 35 solo stops, while playing in all 16 games for the team who selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Of those 44 tackles, 13.5 were sacks on opposing quarterbacks for 75.5 lost yards and Garrett finished the year with the fourth-most sacks in a single season in franchise history.

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With 20.5 career sacks, Garrett registered the most by a Brown in his first 27 games, as well as the most by a defender in his first two professional seasons. This past year, Garrett ranked sixth in the NFL with the 13.5 sacks and fourth in the AFC with four forced fumbles.

“Myles has aspirations to be more, and I want him to be more because he can be more,” Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said. “I want him to be the best that he can be, so Greg (Robinson’s) got stiff competition…That’s going to make us better. Iron sharpens iron.”

Linebacker Joe Schobert added, “That is what you want to do every offseason in the NFL, especially when you are a young guy like him. He still has room to get stronger, get faster and do all that stuff. He is going to be one of the best in the game coming off the edge. I think he proved it last year, and hopefully, builds on it this year.”

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