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The Sports Daily
Bruce Smith: Myles Garrett needs to be quicker off the ball

Hall of Famer Bruce Smith was the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft in 1985. Now he’s taking the top pick of the 2017 draft under his wing.

And he’s providing Myles Garrett with some tough love.

Smith, the NFL’s all-time sack leader with 200, was at Garrett’s home on draft day watching some of his college tape.

“There were occasions in which he was just a little slow off the ball, and that fraction of a second of being slow off the ball is the difference of whether that offensive lineman is set in a certain position to be able to take you on,” Smith told the Akron Beacon Journal.

“Then there are some other areas where the play went away from him, and those are situations that he potentially could have had an impact on the play. But I think sometimes we as players take for granted that someone else is going to make the play, and we can’t do that.”

In the decade or so before they chose Smith, the Bills weren’t that much more successful than the Browns have been. The Bills went 2-14 the year before they drafted Smith and the year after they drafted him, so Garrett is in a somewhat similar situation as a player who is drafted to be a building block.

“He’s going to be successful. It’s just the level of success that he reaches could be contingent upon the decisions that are made for him at an early stage of his career,” Smith said. “The advice, the coaching, the tutelage that he gets right now could determine whether he’s an impact player in his first or second year or his fourth or fifth year.”

There are plenty of No. 1 draft picks (like Alex Smith) who have decent careers but don’t reach the stratospheric heights that are expected from the top overall pick. If Garrett falls into that category, it sounds like Smith will be disappointed.