CLEVELAND — Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett had a Pro Bowl season in 2018, but new coordinator Steve Wilks believes it is only the beginning for the second-year standout pass rusher.
Wilks believes Garrett can reach an even greater level of success individually and for the defense as a whole.
“When you look at some of the core guys, Myles, a very talented individual,” Wilks said in his introductory press conference at team headquarters in Berea Thursday. “I am excited about working with him and trying to really get him to that next level.
“When you look at a player of his caliber being the first overall draft pick and his talent, it is really about trying to get to that All-Pro status and that consistency, week in and week out. I think that he has the traits and the ability to be a dominant player at this level, but we are looking for that consistency, week in and week out.”
Garrett earned selection to his first Pro Bowl after a standout second season with the Browns.
Fully healthy coming into his second NFL 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 finished the year with the fourth-most sacks in a single season in franchise history.
“Very athletic. Very fluid,” Wilks said. “Quick off the ball. Great skillset. I was very excited when I started watching tape and just his ability to be able to anchor and play the run. A lot of time, when you have guys with that skillset, it is just a mindset of really trying to get after the quarterback.”
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 year, Garrett ranked sixth in the NFL with the 13.5 sacks and fourth in the AFC with four forced fumbles.
For his efforts, Garrett became the Browns’ first front seven defender to reach All-Pro status since linebacker Jamir Miller in 2001 and first defensive lineman since Michael Dean Perry made the AP All-Pro Team in 1994.
Garrett and Browns offensive lineman Joel Bitonio were named second-team All-Pro for the 2018 season. Like Garrett, Bitonio participated in the 2019 Pro Bowl after being selected from a pool of alternates.
“I know what I just said earlier about this being a pass-happy league, but there is nothing more demoralizing to a defense than having a team run the ball down your throat,” Wilks said. “That is the one thing we have to pride ourselves in is stopping the run first. I think he does a great job of doing that. We just have to continue to add to his repertoire for pass rush.”