BEREA, Ohio — The Cleveland Browns had two players ranked in the 41-50 range in the NFL Top 100 Players special on the NFL Network, but at least one of those leaders was not exactly happy with his position on the list.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield was ranked No. 50 and Pro Bowl defensive end Myles Garrett was No. 49, and the latter took to social media to voice his displeasure with the ranking in just one sentence.
“Lowest I’ll ever be again,” Garrett wrote in response to the NFL Network’s tweet announcing the ranking.
Garrett was not ranked in the NFL Top 100 Players heading into the 2018 season.
Linebacker Christian Kirksey noticed an extra pep in Garrett’s step when the Browns took the field Monday for their fifth straight day of training camp. Kirksey believes Garrett was extra motivated during practice after being ranked No. 49 overall.
“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.”
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.
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.
“Trust me, the answer to your question is yes, I’ve noticed,” tight end David Njoku said of Garrett’s increased intensity.
“Focus. He’s just putting it together each and every year. I’m really excited for him.”
Along with the motivation from the ranking, Garrett has designs on being an even more impactful player in 2019 because of the help he received from the front office, as the Browns bolstered their defensive line when they traded for edge rusher Olivier Vernon and signed tackle Sheldon Richardson in free agency back in March.
Over 103 games in seven seasons with the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants, the 6-foor-2, 270-pound Vernon registered 326 total tackles, including 232 solo stops and 94 assists, with 51.0 sacks, two passes defended and one interception.
Vernon registered at least 6.5 sacks in each of the last six seasons.
“You’ve got Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon on the outside,” Njoku said. “They’re…beasts I would say is an understatement. They are something truly out of this world. I’m really glad they’re on our side.”