BEREA — The breakout season expected from defensive end Myles Garrett isn’t limited to the field.
Garrett, the No. 1 pick in 2017, was named a captain Wednesday for the first time after a vote by the players. At 22, he’s by far the youngest of the five captains.
“I am not surprised at Myles because I think that he is becoming that type of player,” coach Hue Jackson said. “I think the more vocal he becomes, the better we will become. That is just going to be the challenge for him.”
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor, offensive lineman Joel Bitonio, linebacker Christian Kirksey and punter Britton Colquitt are the other captains. Taylor is the only newcomer, and Kirksey and Colquitt are repeat choices.
“Those are the guys that they see who demonstrate leadership qualities on and off the field,” Jackson said.
Garrett comes off as quiet and reserved but Jackson said he’s got the ability to inspire.
“I think he’s fooling you guys a little bit,” Jackson said. “I think it’s in there. I really do. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it more lately than ever before. I think he’s finally starting to let it out.”
Jackson said he’s largely let Garrett develop his voice organically but occasionally steps in to encourage him to take charge — on and off the field.
“I think the best players normally have big impacts on games and when they speak everybody kind of listens,” Jackson said. “He needs to do it on a consistent basis. We’ve seen signs of it. I think he knows he’s got to go do it. And we’ve got to do it in what kind of games? These kind of games.”
Garrett’s leadership was shown in the final episode of HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” when he gave defensive end Nate Orchard pass-rushing tips in practice.
“I’ve witnessed that firsthand in his meetings. That’s just him,” Jackson said. “He does a good job of mentoring whether you’re older players or younger players. I think people respect him because of talent. I think hopefully they’ll respect him more because of what he does on the field week in and week out.”
Taylor made an instant imprint on the team after being traded from Buffalo in March. Receiver Josh Gordon said Taylor’s the right guy to lead the team into the season.
“He’s probably the most poised guy in the building, definitely one of the most experienced playoffs-wise,” Gordon said. “How much work he puts in is insane. Just to keep up with him is going to take 150 percent, and that’s for anybody. He does that effortlessly.”
Jackson said he was “still working through” the decision of whom to start on the left side of the offensive line and would know Friday.
“I just want to get through practice and kind of go from there before I make that choice,” he said.
The most likely options are undrafted rookie Desmond Harrison at tackle and Joel Bitonio at guard, or Bitonio at tackle and rookie No. 33 pick Austin Corbett at guard.
“I’m using all kind of guys during practice,” Jackson said. “I owe it to the football team. I owe it to all involved to make sure we make the right choice to start the game.”
Jackson said the decision would ideally be for the season, and not just the opener vs. the Steelers on Sunday.
“It’s the best guys for the season,” he said. “If we have to change it, that’s football.”
NO RINGING THE BELL
It looks like the Browns won’t have to face Steelers All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell, who hadn’t signed his franchise tender or joined the team. ESPN reported he’s not expected to play.
“We know he’s a great player, we respect him, but that doesn’t change our game plan much and how we’re going to attack them,” Garrett said. “He’s a talented player, he’s one of the best in the league at his position, so it definitely is, I guess, an advantage to us.”
James Conner, who rushed for 144 yards as a rookie last year, is expected to make his first NFL start in place of Bell.
STAND BY YOUR MAN
Garrett was asked if he was hoping the Browns would trade for defensive end Khalil Mack, who was dealt from the Raiders to the Bears over the weekend.
“Come on now,” Garrett said. “I’ve been vouching for my man E-man this whole offseason.”
He was referring to starting left end Emmanuel Ogbah. Garrett was glad the Browns didn’t draft North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb with the No. 4 pick — they took Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward — because he didn’t want to break up his tandem with Ogbah.
“So I’m glad to have him on my side and I’m not going to try to trade him for anybody,” Garrett said.
Linebacker James Burgess (concussion) and cornerback E.J. Gaines (knee) didn’t practice. Gordon (hamstring), rookie linebacker Genard Avery (glute), defensive tackle Trevon Coley (ankle) and tight end Seth DeValve (quadriceps) were limited, but Jackson said they’d be able to play.
Free safety Damarious Randall (knee) was a full participant.
For the Steelers, tight end Vance McDonald (foot) was limited.
** No. 1 pick Baker Mayfield was voted the Maurice Bassett Award winner by local media. It goes to the top rookie in training camp.
** The Browns will induct defensive back Erich Barnes (1965-71) and linebacker Eddie Johnson (1981-90) into the Legends program Saturday and they’ll be honored at halftime Sunday.
Jackson invited more than 60 alumni to the Saturday workout.