Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett will be center of NFL combine attention

Myles Garrett should be the most talked about player at this week’s annual NFL scouting combine.

The Texas A&M defensive end is the odds-on favorite to be selected No. 1 overall in April’s draft. The consensus is that the Cleveland Browns, who own the top pick, can’t pass up a pass rushing talent like him.

Garrett would seem to be a dream pick. So check the box for someone who could become the face of a franchise.

Garrett elected to get off social media more than a year ago, so there shouldn’t be any self-inflicted mistakes that could bring undue attention to a team. And he’s already announced that he’ll be watching the draft from his family’s home in Arlington as opposed to being part of the festivities in Philadelphia.

Write down Garrett’s name as the top pick. But do it in pencil, because scouting incoming rookies is a fluid business. Hundreds of them, including nine Aggies and 19 players from the Big 12, gather in Indianapolis starting Tuesday for a variety of tests.

Each will get a physical. They’ll talk to interested teams and the top names will be ushered into individual press conferences. Then they’ll be put through a series of speed, strength and agility drills. Their personal combines will be capped off with position workouts.

If it’s not Garrett who goes No. 1, it’ll likely be because the Browns end up opting for a quarterback or end up trading out of the top spot.

Mel Kiper, ESPN’s long-tme draft analyst, is keeping Garrett at the top of his draft board.

“I’ve made a bunch of changes in this mock from the 1.0 version. This isn’t one of them,” Kiper wrote about Garrett. “It’s not out of the question that this pick could factor into the future at quarterback for the Browns, whether that’s a drafted quarterback or one they acquire via trade. But Garrett is, right now, clearly the No. 1 player in this draft class and would be an immediate help at a position where having an elite player on a rookie contract is like stealing.”

Scouts visited College Station last fall to gather key details. According to NFL.com, Garrett is expected to weigh about 270 pounds, run a 40-yard dash in the 4.5-second range and sport a vertical jump of 40 inches.

Translated, he has optimum size of a defensive end, the speed of a running back and the agility of a cornerback. There seems to be no question that Garrett will extend the Aggies’ first-round streak to seven straight drafts.

Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes is another hot player on the eve of the combine. Like Garrett, he’s giving up his final season to turn pro. His first-round status still is the subject of speculation, but more folks in the know are tossing his name into that first night.

“He’s different. He’s a gunslinger, he’s got an innate feel for the game,” said NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock of Mahomes. “The more I look at him, the more I push him higher and closer to that first-round conversation with (DeShone) Kizer, (Deshaun) Watson and (Mitch) Trubisky. Mahomes is picking up steam in NFL circles.”

Mahomes plans to do everything in Indianapolis but the bench press. He had shoulder issues last fall, but reportedly there were no structural problems with the joint. Count on the NFL doctors to make sure that’s so.

ESPN personality and former NFL coach Jon Gruden has invited Mahomes and six others to be part of his annual quarterbacks camp.

Gruden said: “Another underclassman, Mahomes is the guy who has really popped off the film for me. He’s very athletic — a baseball player. They throw it every single play at Texas Tech. He can get rid of the ball from awkward positions with a lot on it. He’s a gunslinger.”

Oklahoma tailback Joe Mixon also finds himself in the midst of draft conversation, but not in a good way. He’s one of the top five tailbacks available, but the NFL didn’t invite him to the combine because of what happened in July 2014, when Mixon hit a woman in the face at a bistro in Norman. He was suspended for a year and was sentenced to community service. Video of the punch was released in December.

There is speculation that some NFL teams have deleted Mixon from their draft boards.

“I made a bad decision,” Mixon told PFTLive in an interview Monday. “Ever since that night I have to live with it. I’ve got to re-live it every day. You can never forget something like that. It still haunts me to this day, but it’s what you do from that point on. You can’t take it back. I can replay it in my head a thousand times, and if I could take it back I would, but I can’t.”

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