Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley was watching the first round of this year's NFL draft, but he doesn't recall having any reaction to seeing defensive end Myles Garrett go No. 1 overall to the Cleveland Browns.
"I wasn't really surprised. That was kind of the hype," Stanley said.
Anyone who cares about the draft predicted Garrett would be the top pick. He was labeled a can't-miss prospect. Two years ago, it was Stanley who draftniks were raving about.
On Sunday, the two young rising stars will meet for the first time. Garrett sat out the teams' Week 2 matchup – a 24-10 Ravens win – because of an ankle injury.
"It probably will be a premier matchup for years to come, but you never know and I try not to think like that," Stanley said this week. "I just go out there and whoever is across from me, I block."
Stanley has continued to be an anchor on the Ravens offensive line in his second season, despite being banged up for much of the year. According to Pro Football Focus, he's given up just three sacks and been the league's fifth-best run blocking left tackle.
Garrett has gotten off to a strong start in his career as well. He missed the first four weeks, but returned to get a sack on the very first snap of his NFL career.
The 6-foot-4, 272-pound Texas A&M product has racked up five sacks and 25 tackles in eight games played (six starts). He has just one sack over the past five weeks, however.
"He's definitely an athletic, strong kid – definitely like Jadeveon [Clowney], physical-traits wise," Stanley said.
Clowney was the first-overall pick of the Houston Texans in 2014. He's listed as an inch taller and two pounds lighter than Garrett, who ran the 40-yard dash in an amazing 4.53 seconds.
Clowney gave the Ravens fits early in their meeting three weeks ago at* *M&T Bank Stadium. He lined up all over the line of scrimmage and got one sack before Baltimore's coaches and offensive line adjusted to neutralize him. Garrett can be a game-wrecker in the same way if unchecked.
But Stanley, who is almost always cool and collected, is preparing for Garrett like he would anyone else. Asked if he pulled up any YouTube highlights when Garrett was first drafted, just to see what he was in for, Stanley shook his head no.
"I was enjoying my offseason," he said. "There was plenty of time to watch film of him when the time came. I have so many other defensive ends in this league that I have to think about.
"He can give you a lot of things. He can get you with speed or power, just like Jadeveon. You just have to be ready for them."