Position: Edge defender
Weight: 241 pounds
School: Mississippi State Bulldogs
Combine Performance Data
40-yard dash: 4.41 seconds (fastest by a defensive lineman in history of Combine)
Bench press: 21 reps
Vertical jump: 36 inches
Broad jump: 10 feet, 5 inches (fourth-best among edge defenders)
Three-cone drill: 7.00 seconds (tied for third-best among edge defenders)
20-yard shuttle: 4.29 seconds (fourth-best among edge defenders)
Montez Sweat 2019 NFL Draft Profile
Montez Sweat‘s journey from high school recruit to one of the top edge rusher prospects in this year’s draft class certainly qualifies as unique. He actually played tight end at Stephenson High School in Stone Mountain, GA and, despite being relatively unheralded, actually garnered quite a few scholarship offers. Sweat committed to Michigan State as part of its 2014 recruiting class. It was in East Lansing where he originally made the conversion to defensive end.
But he found it tough to get regular game reps with the Spartans. Sweat lagged behind others on the depth chart and ended up making just two appearances as a true freshman. He eventually departed the team, citing “personal reasons,” and enrolled at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Wesson, MS. It took him just a single season there to emerge as one of the nation’s top junior college prospects. Mississippi State took interest and he committed to the Bulldogs in the summer of 2016.
Not long thereafter, he cemented himself as an elite pass rusher both in the SEC and in FBS college football as a whole. As a junior, he registered 10.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss, both of which were tied for the best mark in the conference. A year later, he added a further 11.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss. Only Josh Allen finished with a higher sack total among SEC players in 2018. After those two impressive seasons in Starkville, Sweat arrived at the Senior Bowl and positively impacted his draft stock better than perhaps any other player at the event.
- a rangy prospect with the length teams covet at the next level;
- violent, active hands generate good punch to jolt linemen back;
- utilizes a nasty pull and jerk move to disengage from blockers;
- the potential is there for him to develop into an upper-echelon edge-bender;
- relentless ball-tracker who consistently plays to the whistle;
- has a nice outside-in counter move that gets linemen off balance;
- boasts the football I.Q. to be utilized in a variety of exotic blitz packages;
- put up big numbers against elite competition.
- comes out of his stance way too upright, sacrificing base leverage;
- needs to rush the pass with more of a plan;
- doesn’t show a lot of lateral twitch;
- long legs give him an overly high center of gravity;
- not a lot on tape suggesting he can drop into coverage;
- movement in the open field is a bit clunky;
- must continue to develop play strength;
- could add some functional bulk, particularly to lower body.
NFL Comparison: Dion Jordan
Teams With Need at Position: Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins
Projection: potential top 10 pick
One of those “traits guys” who excelled in college football’s toughest conference, Sweat has a promising combination of already developed skills and untapped potential. His sack and tackle for loss numbers during his two seasons with the Bulldogs certainly put him on the radar of next level talent evaluators. Then he further turned heads at the Senior Bowl to augment his draft stock even further. He’s far from a finished product, though. His ability to convert speed to power needs a lot of work. And his leggy frame may inhibit him from developing elite level lateral quickness. But in the right system and with good coaching, his ceiling is that of an every-down starter and potential Pro Bowl edge rusher.