High School & Recruitment
Washington DB Myles Bryant hails from Pasadena, CA and played high school football at Loyal HS in Los Angeles. Like most elite high school athletes, Bryant played both ways in football and excelled at multiple sports. As a sophomore and a junior he was named to California All-State teams for his class, first and second respectively, and also ran track in high school. His senior season he lead his team to a 9-3 record and a quarter-final finish in the CIF Southern Section Pac-5 playoffs, and also earned a spot on the first-team All-Mission League.
Bryant was recruited out of high school as a DB, and received several Division 1 scholarship offers, including from Pac-12 schools like Colorado and UCLA, his hometown team. However, he ultimately turned down the scholarship offers and accepted a preferred walk on offer at Washington to play for then DB Coach Jimmy Lake. Bryant knew that he wanted to play for Lake and believed in himself and his ability to earn a scholarship through hard work and quality play. He would go on to earn both playing time and a scholarship at Washington.
Despite being on the small end for a defensive back, the 5’9” and 184 lbs Bryant makes up for his lack of height with his intelligence and worth ethic. He’s not a burner, as seen by his somewhat average 4.61 second 40 at the NFL combine, but he’s quick and knows how to dissect plays and be where he is needed. Other combine numbers include vertical and broad jumps of 31.5 and 115 inches, as well 6.81 second 3 cone drill, and a 4.02 second 20 yard shuttle.
Bryant enrolled at Washington with the 2016 recruiting class, quickly earned the coaches’ trust, and played in 11 out of 14 games his freshman season as a slot-corner. His most notable moment of the season was when he broke up a pass during the Pac-12 Championship Game win over Colorado. By his sophomore season, Bryant’s talent was undeniable and he started all 13 games. In the Fiesta Bowl against Penn State, Bryant had five tackles, including one for a loss. He finished the season with 57 tackles, including 38 solo tackles, along with 8 passes defended, one forced fumble, and one 35-yard pick-six against Colorado. He twice earned the coaches’ defensive player of the game award, and finished the season as an honorable mention All-Pac-12 and was the co-winner of the Earle T. Glant Tough Husky Award.
During his junior season, Bryant played in 13 out of 14 games, starting in 12 of them. In the season opener against Auburn in Atlanta, he had 8 tackles, including a 12-yard sack. Other season highlights include a big game against BYU, and six tackles against Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. He missed the Stanford game that year due to injury, but was back one week later to play against Oregon State. His end of the year stats included 61 tackles, including 38 solo tackles, 6 passes defended, 3.5 sacks, and one forced fumbled. After the season, Bryant was named to the All-Pac-12 second team.
Entering his senior season, Bryant was named to the preseason All-Pac-12 first team and was also named to the preseason watch lists for the Nagurski, Thorpe, and Bednarik awards. He ended up starting at safety (a position change) in all 13 games, was named the Pac-12 defensive player of the week after the Hawaii game, had two tackles and a 26-yard interception in the Las Vegas Bowl win over Boise State, and was named UW’s most outstanding defensive player by the UW coaching staff. He ended the season with a stat line including 68 tackles (43 solo), one pass defended, one sack, one forced fumble, and three interceptions. For what it’s worth, he was also the returner on one kickoff that ended in a touchback.
As previously noted, Bryant is small for an NFL DB and will likely be considered primarily as a slot-corner/nickleback by NFL scouts. He struggled against some larger receivers and was occasionally picked on by opposing QBs (see the 2017 and 2019 Stanford games). Additionally, his ball skills have come into question due to a low interception rate. His top-end speed is not elite and he would often struggle to track down defenders once he fell behind. Finally, due to his size, against specifically larger targets he often has to set a wide base with his legs to successfully tackle.
The limitations are there, but there are also more reasons why Bryant was such a successful collegiate player and ultimately why he was invited to the NFL combine. First and foremost, he is an excellent student of the game and takes his film study and off-the-field work very seriously. He is a smart, instinctual player who can dissect plays and always knows where he needs to be on the field. In addition to the chip he already had on his shoulder, Bryant was coached by one of the best DB coaches in college football, Jimmy Lake, and played along side future NFL DBs such as Budda Baker, Sidney Jones, Kevin King, Taylor Rapp, Byron Murphy, and Jordan Miller. Between his coaches and teammates, Bryant was surrounded by examples of what it took to become an elite DB.
Bryant is very quick and can rapidly respond to changes on the field. He’s explosive off the line, excellent at jumping routes, and makes up for his lack of speed with good pursuit angles. Fundamentally he’s very sound and is good at crowding receiver's space to narrow throwing windows, which helps to compensate for his lack of size. Thanks to his short stature, Bryant is usually able to get good leverage while tackling and always turns ball-carriers back towards help. His size also makes him difficult to block at the line and he can be used as a legitimate threat on corner-blitzes.
Pound for pound, Myles Bryant is a hell of a football player. He plays with an elite combo of heart and smarts, while having just enough physical and athletic ability to pull it all together at a high level. That said, it’s hard to overcome being 5’9” and his position versatility will be limited in the NFL. Bryant projects as a “priority free agent” after the draft, but there’s an outside chance that he could hear his name be called on day 3 of the NFL Draft.