The consensus top prospect in this class all season long. He’s got a lot going for him. Youth, size, production and character. He's been referred to by scouts as the best piece of clay in the draft.
He uses his length, get off, strength and flexibility to overwhelm blockers. Covers ground quickly in chase mode. His opponents clearly gameplay around him, throwing extra blockers his way and taking the play away from him. A mentally tough guy with role model character. He's blessed with prototype length, size, bend, and quickness for an NFL edge rusher.
A more finesse player than he looks. He plays like a smaller stand up OLB rather than a down DE. I don't think he's a great run defender. He can set the edge if he stays free but he can also be walled and steered by just about anyone. Hunter Henry, not known as a strong run blocker coming out, gets him here.. Physical running teams like Auburn and Arkansas have basically kicked his ass against the run.
He’s got a selective motor. He'll keep coming as a rusher but don't ask him to chase sideline to sideline. He didn't dominate the two best OTs he faced in college; Laremy Tunsil and Cam Robinson. Each won their matchups with him. The, ”he wasn't 100% healthy” reasoning works well enough for 16’ Robinson but not so well for 15’ Tunsil. Alarmingly that echoes his career production totals of SEC (11 sacks) vs non SEC. (20)
Garrett basically gets to wherever he wants to on the field. But I don't think he's as physical or violent at the poa as he ought to be. Last season as a soph, I thought he was a smaller guy until I really paid attention.
Personality wise, Garrett's a different guy. Marches to the beat of his own drum is what the old folks say. Imo that’s more a feather than a knock. But I do think his personality, and especially, his often lackadaisical on field play might rub some coaches/players the wrong way.
I don’t have Garrett quite as high as most. The freakish ability is there and he flashes it every game but I’m not a fan of his motor and physicality. He’s too often a (RDE here)passive player on contact to me. He does however look to have the character and drive to kickstart his motor and change his play mode similar to what Joey Bosa did as a rookie. Bosa cut weight, leaned up, became quicker and played with a bigger motor in San Diego than he had as a junior at OSU. But that’s a fairly uncommon transformation for a rookie and I wouldn't bank on it. All that said, I do think Garrett should regularly get into the backfield as a pro. I just don’t think he’ll be as impactful as you want or expect a #1 overall pick to be.
Pro Comparison: smaller, softer Julius Peppers