Haskell Garrett would be an interesting draft prospect under normal circumstances. A defensive tackle out of Ohio State, he earned a reputation as an interior disruptor on defense. In his final 18 games with the program, he collected 7.5 sacks and 11 tackles for a loss. According to Jacob Infante of SB Nation, it isn’t a surprise that the Chicago Bears are reportedly interested. He is a classic three-technique defensive tackle perfect for Matt Eberflus’ Tampa-2 system.
That isn’t what makes this such a fascinating story. It is what Garrett went through even to get this far. If people want to talk about resilience and perseverance in life, they can follow this young man. Things became a real challenge for him at age 13 when his father died. This forced his family to move across the country. Then he uprooted himself from his family to play high school football in Las Vegas. There he blossomed and helped his team win three straight state championships.
That success alone was inspiring. Yet it was about to get better (or worse).
Garrett barely played after signing with Ohio State in 2017. He spent his first three years mostly riding the bench. Then when it was finally his turn to start in 2020, the pandemic hit. There was a serious possibility he wouldn’t get to play football that year. Thankfully the Big Ten reached an agreement to hold games that fall. Garrett was elated. He returned to campus, ready to go. Then on August 30th, it happened.
Garrett stepped in during a physical dispute between an undisclosed man and woman, trying to break it up. The man pulled a gun and shot him in the face. The bullet went through both cheeks. It was a minor miracle that didn’t instantly kill him. Garrett ran to a nearby friend’s house, and an ambulance was called. He was finally taken to a hospital. He was released the next day. Less than two months later, he was on the field starting for the Buckeyes’ opener against Nebraska. Insane.
The #Bears met with Ohio State DL Haskell Garrett at the Senior Bowl, per source.
Two-year starter at OSU with a thick frame and violent hands as a 3-tech. He’s projected mostly as a Round 3-4 pick and would be a nice fit in an Eberflus scheme.
— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) February 12, 2022
Chicago Bears wanted tough players. Well, he qualifies.
Garrett battled through the loss of a parent as a teenager, moving across the country, a pandemic, and getting shot in the face to reach this moment. If that doesn’t show his dedication to the game of football, nothing does. It comes down to whether he has the talent they’re looking for. Garrett showcased plenty of potential at Ohio State. His quickness, violent hands, and strong motor made him a constant pest for opposing guards and centers.
Look at Haskell Garrett here. pic.twitter.com/Tdww3M1K7P
— Tony Gerdeman (@TonyGerdeman) September 25, 2017
Haskell Garrett earlier this year: Shot
Haskell Garrett today: BACK ON THE FIELD WITH A SACK pic.twitter.com/8R5Zm2fM3A
— Arrogant Ryan Day (@ArrogantBuckeye) October 24, 2020
Draft experts seem to think Garrett has a future in the NFL, but perhaps not as a starter. Instead, he looks more like a perfect rotational interior pass rusher that can be used in obvious passing situations. Similar to what Taylor Stallworth was for Eberflus in Indianapolis. Though he only started one game, the defensive tackle managed three sacks and 13 pressures in limited action.
Garrett should be able to do at least that much.
Anything more remains to be seen. At 6’2, 300 lbs he is somewhat undersized for the NFL. This is a big reason he likely won’t go before the third day in the draft. He’ll fit what the Chicago Bears want from a mental standpoint if nothing else. The effort, intensity, and intelligence.
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