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2019 NFL Draft Prospect Montez Sweat Edge Rusher Mississippi State

Size, speed, power and length is a great combination

NCAA Football: TaxSlayer Bowl-Louisville vs Mississippi State Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Montez Sweat Mississippi State 6’ 6” 252 lbs #9

The first thing you notice about Sweat is his long angular frame and lean muscular body. He has spent more time in the weight room over the summer and it shows. He still has a body that can add another 20 lbs of muscle so his strength coach in the NFL should help him become an even more ferocious defensive player. Watching him last year I thought he was too light to hold the edge in the NFL. Since his transformation I think he could handle any role as an edge player.

Sweat is coming off a great Senior Bowl week where he dominated the competition with his speed and power. He measured in at 6’ 6” and weighed 252 lbs which is about 10 -12 lbs more than he weighed as a junior. The extra weight did not hurt his speed and only increased his power. His arms were measured at 36” which is insane length for an edge player. The length helps keep tackles from controlling his torso and also gives him more leverage when he tries to swim or rip by the offensive lineman.

Sweat is a little older than most prospects. He played in 1 game for Michigan State in 2014 before he was suspended for the season by Mark Dantonio for unspecified violations of team rules. He was still at Michigan State in 2015 when Dantonio defined Sweat’s status as “in limbo” which prompted Sweat to leave the team. Since it was too late to enroll at a Division 1 school he transferred to Copiah -Lincoln CC in Mississippi where he of course starred.

He moved on to Mississippi State for his junior year and lead the SEC with 10.5 sacks and 16 TFL. He played a DE position in college, but he can play in a 4-3 as a DE or as a OLB in a 3-4 defense. At either position he can show his best talents. He is very agile for a tall man with excellent body control and deceptive power. He could have left for the NFL in the 2018 Draft but wanted to show he wasn’t a one year wonder and that his personal problems were a thing of the past.

Sweat was playing with a standout DT in Jeffery Simmons who will garner a lot of press, and I was hoping that Sweat might just fly under the radar. That is out the window. The only place Sweat is flying now is into the middle of the 1st round and a possibility for the Jets if they decide to trade back.

In this play Sweat is going against a possible top 20 2019 NFL draft pick in OT Greg Little of Mississippi. He shows good speed off the snap, which Little counters by getting to his slide step quickly and cutting off Sweat. By doing so Little is a bit high and top heavy in his set so Sweat uses one of his best attributes; long arms. He attacks Little high with his arms and he is so far away that Little can’t get to Sweat’s body to control him. Little is now off balance, and Sweat uses that advantage to go around him. Again he uses his length to corral the QB.

Sweat has a great first step for a tall man. He also plays with good leverage, even getting under the pads of player who are shorter than he is. He can also bull rush a tackle who out weighs him by 75 lbs, which gives him more tools to get around the edge than players with only speed as their weapon.

Here again he is off the snap fast and uses his length to attack the 6’3 320 lbs tackle high. Even though Sweat is 3” taller than his opponent he makes sure he gets his hands under the RT and gets him off balance. When he does that he makes the RT stop his feet for just a split second. He is quick enough to use that advantage to go right around him for the sack.

If you notice Sweat uses his speed to race by the tackle, but the tackle does a nice job of retreating and makes Sweat go the long way around (behind the QB). Still he is able to get home in under 3 seconds...speed, speed, speed.

Here again he uses his long arms to his advantage. He is taking a hard outside rush and using his left hand to keep the LT from controlling his chest. With good body control he is able to stop, use a rip move with his off arm, and double back for a sack on the QB.

Again he rushes by the QB which is a bad move, unless you can keep the tackle away from you with one arm and double back to get the QB from behind. Sweat is an above average athlete for a big man and he will should get better with more experience.

Arkansas had one of the best O-lines in the SEC, but against Sweat they used a FB to try and chip him on the way to his wheel route. You can see the chip does little, and the 6’ 6” 323 lbs RT is no match for Sweat.

Montez Sweat is an interesting player from the physical standpoint. He is long, very long with great height and quickness not seen in most big men. His height alone will make it hard for QB’s to throw over him, and he should get numerous blocked passes every year. He had 23 sacks, 30 TFL and 101 tackles in the last two years in 26 games as a DE so he is very productive. He had a great Senior Bowl week. The coaches actually dialed back his practice reps because he was dominating and they had seen all they needed to see.

I have a mid 1st round grade on Sweat, and that will be slightly affected by his Combine and work outresults. I really think that working with NFL coaches will enhance his production. He could use his hands better and increase his repertoire pass rush moves.

Sweat only has two years of Division 1 experience so he is still a neophyte as a DE. He is a player with a high ceiling, but he must keep progressing because he has a low floor if he can’t get off blocks of the highly skilled tackles in the NFL.

I have Sweat as a player who is just outside the top ten in the 2019 Draft so he would not be a consideration for the Jets at #3. Maybe if the Jets trade back with Packers at #12 (which is probably not going to happen) he could be a possibility, although the team has a lot of holes to fill. Defensive players dominate the top of this Draft so maybe teams reaching for offensive help may drop Sweat down a little. We are still a few months away from the Draft so a lot can happen in that time. Stay tuned

So what do you think?