Hall of Famer Bruce Smith, who has more sacks than anyone in the history of the NFL, caught his first glimpse of No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett in practice Wednesday.
And he came away impressed.
Via Pat McManamon of ESPN.com, Smith spoke one-on-one with Garrett often during the practice, and said he likes the fact that Garrett’s willing to listen.
“I don’t believe that I was as receptive as a rookie as he is,” Smith said. “This young man is mature beyond his years. That’s a tribute to his humbleness and his upbringing by his parents.”
Of course, he’s also being brought along slowly by the Browns, who only worked him in with the starters for the first time Wednesday in front of their esteemed guest.
Smith and Garrett have struck up a relationship over the years, and the all-time sacker said that Garrett working against a player the caliber of Browns left tackle Joe Thomas will only help.
“Joe can be an invaluable asset to Myles,” Smith said. “To be able to communicate with him after a play is over, after a pass rush, he can teach him how to be dominant player much quicker if he talks to him and communicates with him and tells him what he did wrong and what he did right, as opposed to him remaining silent.
“Him engaging and playing and getting as much action against Joe as he possibly can is critical.”
For all the natural talent Garrett possesses, having a mentor like Smith (and a daily practice competitor like Thomas) will undoubtedly help, and Smith walked away from Browns camp acknowledging that Garrett should be an “impact player” this season.