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Myles Garrett's unexpected critique from Bruce Smith drives him to be even better

Hours before the Browns made him the No. 1 pick, Myles Garrett sat down with Hall of Fame pass rusher Bruce Smith to break down game film of his career at Texas A&M.

Just a normal Thursday, right?

What followed was even more abnormal for Garrett.

Smith, who racked up 200 sacks over 19 seasons in the NFL, delivered a frank assessment of Garrett's game. The former Texas A&M star has been lauded for his unique athleticism and produced from Day 1 in College Station, but Smith didn't hesitate to point out the areas where Garrett could improve.

"He said I was slow off the ball," Garrett said before Saturday's minicamp practice. "But that's coming from the very best. He's just trying to teach me the tricks that I can get off the ball faster and do it even better. If I learn that and keep on practicing at it, I can perform at a high level."

The film that elicited Smith's critique was Texas A&M's season opener against UCLA. In a game the Aggies won, Garrett had three tackles, including a sack and another tackle for loss, and two quarterback hurries.

A reporter Saturday said he thought Garrett played pretty well in that game.

"I thought so, too," Garrett said with a smile.

"I kind of laughed a little bit. Most people wouldn't say that, but he's one of the greatest, if not the greatest, pass rushers. If he thinks so, and I want to be at his level someday, I need to take his advice and run with it."

Garrett has repeatedly said the external expectations that come with being the No. 1 pick don't intimidate him because he has even higher goals for himself. As a high school player, he and his father, Lawrence, set goals for him to become the nation's top-rated recruit (check) and the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft (check).

There are more lofty goals on that checklist, of course, and following the advice of a legend like Smith only makes them more realistic.

"He played leagues above what I am right now if I want to get there," Garrett said. "I've got to soak in all that information and all that greatness."

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