Myles Garrett shows winning mentality with his approach and attitude

Is Williams trying to send a message with Garrett comments? (1:37)

Field Yates and Matt Hasselbeck break down Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams saying he has never seen a rookie adjust to the NFL as quickly as Myles Garrett. (1:37)

BEREA, Ohio -- Time and games will tell how good Myles Garrett can be on the field.

But the one thing that nobody has questioned is Garrett's approach and attitude. Teammates, coaches, even a Hall of Fame defensive end rave about the way Garrett has impressed them with the way he has worked since joining the Cleveland Browns as the first overall pick in the draft.

Garrett may well be the most exciting prospect the Browns have had since Joe Thomas was the third overall pick in the 2007 draft. His talent has never been questioned, but combine humility and a willingness to learn with that ability and the result should be impressive.

"There's obviously a lot of variables and a lot of things that can happen in football that are sometimes out of people's control, but there's no reservations from me at this point," Thomas said of Garrett's attitude.

Thomas has enjoyed just talking with Garrett, as two of the Browns' unique personalities have meshed. Bruce Smith, the NFL's all-time sack leader, spent a day at training camp and said that Garrett, 21, is "mature beyond his years."

Heach coach Hue Jackson said there was nothing more he could have asked from Garrett in terms of his approach.

"Myles walked in here with the right mindset," Jackson said. "He was going to earn the right to show his teammates and coaching staff that he was who he was. He has done that every day."

During rookie minicamp, Garrett wouldn't talk about seeking advice from veterans; he said he had to prove he belonged first.

He wouldn't talk about starting until he was with the first team; he said he had to earn it.

He has never once shown a sense of entitlement.

On the field he was noticeable from the get-go. His quickness and speed in the pass rush caused problems, and he's been surprisingly good against the run. After practice he spent time running eight to 10 100-yard sprints because, he said, he didn't want to be the guy who tired late in games or during long drives.

His biggest on-field issue might have been pulling off from hitting the quarterback on the pass rush in practice. In minicamp, his effort to avoid Brock Osweiler led to Garrett stepping on Osweiler and hurting his own foot.

Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has been in the NFL 26 years, and though this is his first experience with a No. 1 overall pick, he said Garrett "jumped out and fit in faster than any of the other" high draft picks he has coached.

"One of the things we do is when those guys come in the door, they are dead last on the depth chart," Williams said. "How do you handle that? How do you handle the locker room? How do you handle the meeting room? How do you handle the field? How do you handle the walk-throughs? How do you handle being humble? How do you handle being respectful?

"He is a really good young man and a pretty good player, too. He handled the threes, he handled the twos, he got some spot time on one and then the other players, the veteran players, came to me and said, 'Hey, do you know we are better when he is in there?'"

Williams said that in watching the film of the preseason opener he quickly noticed New Orleans' players finding Garrett.

"They were pointing to where he was," Williams said. "The Saints knew where he was."

Against New Orleans, Garrett had a tackle for loss, another for no gain against the run and a quarterback pressure that forced a third-down incompletion and punt, exactly what he was drafted to do. Less noticed was a play in which Alvin Kamara bounced a run outside for a 23-yard gain. Garrett was the guy who chased him from across the field and hit him at the sideline.

"I still think there is another level for him to get to," Jackson said. "I think he is talented. I think he is still learning the National Football League game and just the grind of it all. It is going to be different for him, but I think he has some good mentors on defense and coaches who are going to get him through it."

"I've found Myles really engaging and fun to talk to because he's very interested in getting better," Thomas said. "He's the type of rookie that you want. He wants every bit of information you can give him."

Thomas called Garrett "very analytical."

"He thinks a lot like I do," Thomas said. "He's always trying to break every little thing down and try to figure where he can get better. A guy like that is really fun to work with."

Garrett competes and plays a physical game, but he also has a gentle side. The Akron Beacon-Journal reported that on one of his post-practice sprints, Garrett looked down and noticed a frog on the field. Garrett picked it up, opened the gate to the practice field, jogged across the street and laid the frog in some bushes.

"Everything has a right to live," Garrett told the Beacon-Journal.

There will be critiques of Garrett's play. There will be techniques he can improve. There might even be chatter after a tough game. But what hasn't been debated is Garrett's willingness to make himself the best he can be at this early point in his career.

"You don't want to build somebody up too much and make the expectations too high, but he's a great kid, a great man," Thomas said. "He's been fun to work with and he's got all the talent.

"He checks all the boxes."