CFB Player Bracket: Devonte Fields vs. Myles Garrett
Today we take a look at the matchup of two returning star edge rushers in this Round 1 matchup. While Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett received more recognition during and after the season, Louisville’s Devonte Fields has been nearly just as productive as his counterpart. Here is the breakdown on the two players:
The case for Devonte Fields
Fields is a true athletic freak who uses his long arms really well to fight off blockers. His athletic ability allowed Louisville to use him in various ways making versatility one of his main strengths. He did not only line up as outside linebacker and defensive ends on both sides but has occasionally played as a middle linebacker as well. Furthermore, he was able to make plays no matter where he lined up, which is shown by the fact that he recorded five pressures on 16 rushes when he lined up at linebacker.
While Fields’ versatility adds to his unpredictability, he is at his best when lining up on the edge. Opposing teams must scheme for him as he routinely outpowers fullbacks and tight ends both on pass rushes and run plays. His most impressive weapon is his inside counter move, where he takes advantage of his lateral quickness and easily cuts across the face of the opposing offensive tackle. As a result, he recorded 14 total pressures by beating his man to the inside compared to the national average of six.
In addition, he is quick to recognize plays, which was highlighted in the game against Virginia: while a Virginia wide receiver ran past him on one jet sweep play, he tackled the ball carrier for a loss the next time the same play was run to his side.
The case for Myles Garrett
While Garrett’s run defense is just good and not dominant, he makes up for it by being one of the two best returning edge pass rushers along with Tennessee’s Derek Barnett. This is highlighted by his production on third downs. Garrett recorded 28 total pressures (five sacks, 8 hits, 15 hurries) on 117 rushes on third downs and had the best pass rushing productivity among returning edge rushers with at least 90 rushes on third downs.
The Texas A&M star’s biggest strength is his quickness off the snap. Offensive tackles often need to play catch-up as soon as they get out of their stances. The fact that he can influence plays immediately after the snap is highlighted by the numbers as well. On plays when the quarterback either released the ball or got sacked within 2.5 seconds, Garrett recorded 16 total pressures (three sacks, 7 hits, 6 hurries) on 167 rushes, which is a significantly better pass rushing productivity than that of either Barnett or Fields. Garrett’s ability to make big plays is also evident when looking at his grades as he had the third most pass rushing plays in the nation with at least a +1.5 grade.
The Verdict: Myles Garrett advances
Fields has the potential to become just as good a player as Garrett is; however, the Aggie wins this matchup due to his reliability. While Garrett missed only four tackles in 2015, Fields sometimes struggled to finish plays and finished with 13 missed tackles, tied for third most among returning edge rushers.
In addition, Garrett came up big when the stakes were bigger and was more productive in key game situations. His pass rushing productivity exceeded that of Fields in the fourth quarter and on third and fourth downs as well.
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— PFF College (@PFF_College) June 10, 2016