Cale Garrett is awesome. I think we here at Rock M Nation can all agree to that. And Garrett was at peak awesomeness in the first 5 games of the 2019 season. Here’s what that looked like, as well as his career stats:
He was on pace for 84 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 17 run stuffs, 5 passes broken up, and 7 interceptions in 2019 alone. And maybe that type of performance turns a few losses into wins? And who knows how the dominoes fall after that. Regardless.
Garrett was an overlooked 3-star recruit who was going to enlist in the naval academy before Barry Odom stepped in and demanded the Missouri staff bring him on board. It certainly paid off. Once prior middle linebacker captain Michael Scherer went down with an injury in 2016, Garrett filled in admirably, holding on to the job until he, himself, was relieved of his watch due to injuries sustained in service. Garrett never wowed anyone with speed or crushing hits or a fierce pass rush, but he was intelligent, knew what the offense was doing, and always found himself in the right position to make a play.
Now, how does that translate to the NFL? Well...
If you are a linebacker in the NFL, you typically are super football smart. You’re also incredibly athletic, and especially in today’s version of the NFL, can play coverage just as well - if not better - then you can play the pass.
Garrett is smart! His athleticism might not be on par with other NFL linebackers though.
We always expected Cale to be around the ball carrier or make the right read in the running game but he was always a liability in pass coverage, especially if he was asked to play man coverage on a tight end. And big, thumping-type linebackers are just not something that NFL defenses deploy a lot of: they need multi-faceted guys who can cover tight ends and inside receivers so Garrett is going to have to either improve drastically in that department or bring something special that the team doesn’t already have.
It breaks my heart to say this, but I highly doubt Cale gets drafted. He’s seemingly a good dude and a great leader, but his skills just don’t translate to the pro game. Hopefully he signs as an undrafted free agent and can make a team as a special teamer or practice squad guy. Regardless, I hope his time at Missouri was special for him because he was an awesome guy to root for.