New 49ers general manager John Lynch is a big fan of character guys — guys who love the game, players who want to learn, lead and have high football intelligence and motors that don’t quit.
These are the intangibles, they are the reason for scouts, personnel departments and general managers to do more than just look at a guys fundamentals and then rank players.
Do guys have the respect of their teammates, are they dedicated to the classroom, can you improve them through coaching, can they motivate other players and do they take plays off?
The Pewter Plank
These are character traits and comprise a large portion of the intangible attributes of a prospect, the rest is comprised of abilities rarely seen and not accounted for by stats. Abilities like fast reflexes, burst, twitch, hands and vision.
When evaluating Myles Garrett on the character portion of the intangibles, there are more questions than answers. When reading about him, watching or reading his interviews or hearing descriptions of those that know him, character isn’t what is discussed.
Comparatively, some of his peers at the same position are primarily described by their character. I wrote an article on Stanford DE/OLB Solomon Thomas a couple of weeks ago that addresses this very thing.
Both Thomas and Derek Barnett are considered high-character guys. They do not take plays off. As a matter of fact, most prospects are offended by the notion in general.
Strangely enough, Garrett had a different take on it when he faced criticism for appearing to take plays off in 2016 including a poor performance in the Texas Bowl and was asked about it.
He stated, “Nobody is 100 percent on every play.” Scott Pasco of Cleveland.com wrote a fascinating article about it.
Myles Garrett had some injury issues in 2016. But what is of concern here is the attitude in which he views it himself. It doesn’t appear to be a matter of pride or ownership. It reminds of the retired NFL wide receiver Randy Moss’ mentality — I’m gonna get mine when I can get it and I don’t care what you think.
Moss proved to be a great player but spent years defending himself and switching teams because of this disruptive behavior.
Myles Garrett has been vocal in the media about wanting the Dallas Cowboys to trade up for him, which isn’t typical behavior from prospects that want to show a willingness to be dedicated to whatever team selects him. He then later bolstered on how he would make Cleveland pay for it if they did not take him with the No. 1 pick.
Now, I know Garrett is a young man and confidence is a valuable trait. But the NFL is big business, and he is being thoroughly evaluated for his place in it. He is either not properly adhering to the advice of his agents and PR people or they are taking the path of flamboyancy and media recognition.
The ladder usually equates to a period of trouble with team dynamics as proved by Moss, retired NFL WR Terrell Owens, retired NFL DT Warren Sapp and even proved to be an issue with Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown just this last year.
Considering Garrett’s actions so far in regards to getting his character out there to the public, we are left with the other side of the intangibles to explain his consensus No. 1 ranking. Are his freakish physical traits so good that they outweigh production stats and questionable character?
These statistics and media statements have been available the entirety of the pre-draft process since their inception, it does not seem to change the minds of the prognosticators.