High school football in North Texas produces talent that has made it to the NFL, and on Thursday night an Arlington native made history.
The Cleveland Browns selected Myles Garrett with the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft. The former Arlington Martin and Texas A&M defensive end is the only player from Tarrant County that has been chosen first.
Read KERA’s original story on Garrett below:
When the Texas A&M “SwagCopter” lands at your high school football stadium on a recruiting trip, it’s a pretty big deal. It touched down during an Arlington Martin game in 2013.
“And in comes this helicopter, this thing looks like it should have some missiles attached to it,” Arlington Martin coach Bob Wager says. “It’s maroon and white and got a big Aggie sign on the side."
It came in about a 45-degree angle, making the stadium buzz, Wager remembers. The place erupted, and just as it was starting to throttle down and land, Garrett broke through, blocked a punt, picked it up and ran it into the end zone.
"Almost as if to say, 'that helicopter’s pretty neat but watch this,'” Wagers says.
The coach can rattle off stories about Garrett on and off the field — like his affinity for '70s music, dinosaurs and poetry, or when Garrett recently showed up to a kids event in Arlington.
“He’s never forgotten where he came from,” Wager said. “When Myles comes home, around here, he’s just Myles. He just blends right in. Not, 'I’m a first round draft pick,' but 'I’m Myles from down the street.' It’s been that way ever since I met him.”
In high school, Garrett was considered the No. 2 ranked player in America. Then he only got better as a defensive end in college at Texas A&M. NFL experts and scouts say his ability to sack the quarterback is unmatched.
'He doesn't have any minuses'
The Cleveland Browns will have the ability to draft Garrett with the first pick in the NFL draft.
Kevin Sherrington, a columnist with The Dallas Morning News, says for a defensive end as fast and powerful as Garrett is, "he doesn't have any minuses, physically."
“And then when you throw in the fact that he’s such a hard worker, a great kid, very smart. He’s just a no-brainer to me.”
Garrett joins a select club in North Texas. Highland Park’s Matthew Stafford was a No. 1 pick in 2009. DeSoto's Von Miller and Arlington High’s Luke Joeckel were each drafted No. 2 in 2011 and 2013, respectively.
Garrett has some detractors though. Some say he doesn’t give his full effort on every play. Sherrington disagrees.
“Of course the Browns could always screw this up, which they usually do,” Sherrington said.
Cleveland has had a losing record for years and a reputation for picking the wrong player in the NFL draft. But maybe Garrett’s the one who helps turnaround the lowly Browns.