Shawne Merriman: Browns had most exciting offseason in NFL, aiming "to get a ring right now"

Former Chargers LB feels Myles Garrett will be a star and will be "known as one of the best to do it"

Daryl Ruiter
June 15, 2019 - 11:37 pm
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Eastlake, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – The Cleveland Browns are the talk of the NFL, and arguably the sports world.

Former Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman was the latest to praise the once doormat of the league turned title contender thanks to an 18-month long complete roster overhaul by general manager John Dorsey.

Last year Dorsey drafted quarterback Baker Mayfield first overall then Pro Bowl cornerback Denzel Ward fourth after trading for Pro Bowl receiver Jarvis Landry and safety Damarious Randall.

This offseason Dorsey pulled off the trade of the decade acquiring Pro Bowlers Odell Beckham Jr. and Olivier Vernon from the Giants and then he signed Pro Bowl defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. He also drafted another corner that also appears set for stardom in Greedy Williams, who was picked in the second round.

“The Browns had the most exciting offseason out of any team,” Merriman said Saturday. “The moves they made it shows they want to win right now. You have teams out there that don’t wish to make as big a splash because they feel like maybe we can go get someone next year in the draft, maybe next year free agents, but to bring in Odell, Vernon who can still play and go get after the quarterback.

“The talent that they brought in is showing they want to go and attempt to get a ring right now, and good for them. It’s time.”

Merriman was among the current and former athletes and celebrities that participated in Jarvis Landry’s celebrity softball game that benefitted the Lake Heath Foundation and the receivers’ foundation.

He was taken aback by the fan turnout, well in advance of the Home Run Derby and game, which was played in the rain.

“it’s crazy, and I don’t think I’ve seen anything like that before,” Merriman said. “They’re tailgating and there a big part of why we’re here and the cause we’re all trying to push and help people who can’t help themselves.”

The former linebacker turned Fox Sports personality and founder of Lights Out Xtreme Fighting is also a big fan of Myles Garrett.

“That guy, even when he came out of Texas A&M, I watched him and I said this guy is going to be a star,” Merriman said. “Not a really good player, I’m talking about like a star and will be known as one of the best to do it before it’s said and done.”

Merriman, who totaled 45.5 sacks over nine seasons with the Chargers and Bills, revealed that Garrett is supposed to travel to Los Angeles and train with him this summer.

“He’s a big boxing fan and MMA fan and I told him I would give him a few rounds,” Merriman said.

Garrett has quietly amassed 20.5 sacks in just 27 games, including finishing a half sack shy of tying the franchise single-season sack record of 14 in 2018. We say quietly because Garrett hasn’t gotten much run nationally, even with a Pro Bowl selection last season, but that’s about to change according to Merriman.

“When you’re not winning a lot of games, when you’re not getting a lot of notoriety and as a player you get overlooked,” Merriman said. “But the kind of star power they’re brining here now, they’re going to have a lot of eyeballs so the players that weren’t getting paid attention to, they will now.”

Garrett’s athleticism and versatility impresses Merriman the most.

“You can move Garrett anywhere,” Merriman said. “You can line him up at D-end, you can put him right over the nose tackle. He’s athletic enough to line up in a shade or D-tackle position and loop all the way around and play a D-end position and go two guys over and still make a play on the ball with that size and that speed.”

The additions of Vernon and Richardson should make life easier for Garrett, who faced double teams regularly his first two NFL seasons, while also giving new defensive coordinator Steve Wilks plenty of creative options to use the 2017 No. 1 overall pick.

“Garrett, for one, he’s going to cause a lot of havoc anyway, by himself,” Merriman said. “He’s going to get the attention. He’s going to get the double teams, the slide protections and different stuff but when you have Vernon on the outside, it’s going to free him up to be in one-on-one situations.

“Vernon can go He can play. He just hasn’t had the opportunities enough to go and get the quarterback, but when you have a team like Cleveland with Baker, they’re going to score points. They’re going to put up points and when they get up 14-0 or even 10-0, then you allow those pass rushers to go.”