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2019 NFL Draft Profiles: Montez Sweat, Edge, Mississippi State

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

A week from today, the Miami Dolphins and the rest of the NFL will be looking toward the final four rounds of the 2019 Draft, with three rounds already completed. Which draft prospects will be heading to South Florida as rookies for the Dolphins? We continue this morning our look at some of the potential targets for Miami.

We move on to the third prospect in our series, adding to our previous looks at Florida tackle Jawaan Taylor and Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins. Today we take a closer look at Mississippi State edge rusher Montez Sweat. Could - or should - the Dolphins select Sweat with the 13th overall pick?

Montez Sweat bio

Age: 22 (Sep. 4, 1996)

Born: Richmond, KY

High School: Stephenson High School, Stone Mountain, GA

College: Mississippi State

Sweat started his college career at Michigan State, appearing in two games as a freshman, then sat out a redshirt season in 2015. He left Michigan State in 2016, spending a year at Copiah-Lincoln Community College. In 2017, he joined Mississippi State’s team, where he was a first-team All-SEC selection in both 2017 and 2018, as well as being selected for various first- and second-team All-American honors. He recorded 22 career sacks at Mississippi State, with 101 tackles, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.

Montez Sweat measurables

Height: 6’6”

Weight: 260 lbs.

Arms: 35-13/4”

Hands: 10-1/2”

40-yard dash: 4.41

Bench press: 21

Vertical jump: 36.0

Broad jump: 125.0

3-cone drill: 7.0

20-yard shuttle: 4.29

What they are saying

Stephen White, SB Nation - The funny thing, to me at least, is Sweat is what my rush defensive end Create-A-Player would look almost exactly like, both in stature and in the way he plays the game. First of all, he has a great get-off which is something I value quite a bit. I don’t think we talk nearly enough about how important it is to be able to fly off the football without having to guess and get a bunch of flags for offsides penalties.

And he was able to haul ass at the snap like that in all four games I watched without getting a single offsides penalty. Secondly, Sweat used a rip move to great effect on a regular basis, which just warmed this old defensive lineman’s heart. I’m an unapologetic rip move enthusiast, and I will always prefer them to arm-overs when it comes to escaping off a block. That’s just my personal preference. Combined with all of the other traits that I’m partial to, Sweat’s functional strength was also impressive on tape. You can be as fast and as quick as you want to, but my prototype defensive end would be able to hold his own at the point of attack, too, and Sweat certainly fits that bill. With Sweat, not only does he have the moves to beat the offensive tackles, he also has that sixth gear that will allow him to convert a lot of his pass-rush wins into hurries or sacks. Yes folks, in addition to everything else, Sweat’s lateral movement is also outstanding. This kid has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to his physical gifts. Oh, and he also hustles his ass off. Now, I’ve been careful to describe him as defensive end prospect instead of edge rusher here, because for as athletic and fluid as Sweat looked with his hand in the dirt, the few times I saw him drop in coverage, he didn’t look all that comfortable to me. No matter where he goes, however, barring injury, Montez Sweat is likely to be one of the best players to come out of this draft.

Lance Zierlein, - Some will see Sweat as a leggy edge prospect with average play strength and a lack of refinement in his pass rush. I see a talent, similar to Danielle Hunter out of LSU, with above-average length and a prospect who should continue to grow into his frame, allowing him to unleash his rush flashes into a consistent attack. His transition as an NFL rusher will take some time, but like Hunter, he should come out on the other side as a good, impact starter as an every-down edge defender. Comparison: Danielle Hunter.

Joe Marino, The Draft Network - Sweat’s skill set projects favorably to a 4-3 defensive end role in the NFL where his length, ability to defend the run and his strengths as a pass rusher as maximized. Despite compiling 22.5 sack over the last two seasons at Mississippi State, Sweat isn’t likely to be that caliber of a sack artist in the NFL on account of his modest burst, twitch and flexibility. Sweat is a technician that can be a standout against the run while offering some pass rushing upside that comes with restrictions.

Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports - Strengths: Sweat looks like an NFL defensive end. He’s coming off a strong season at Mississippi State and only reconfirmed his ability to dominate at the Senior Bowl. He uses his strength and hands to overpower offensive linemen and get into the backfield though he’ll need to prove he’s flexible enough to regularly win on the edge. Weaknesses: There are questions about whether Sweat has the flexibility to routinely get to quarterbacks at the top of the arc, and if he can consistently disengage from offensive lineman in both the pass and run game. Comparison: Danielle Hunter.

Gavino Borquez, USA Today Draft Wire - Overall, Sweat possesses good explosiveness of the line of scrimmage, using his huge wingspan to detach from blockers. Solid ability against the run, he has great identification of the football and has adequate open field pursuit. He must become stronger at the point of attack and isn’t going to thrive at bending the edge. Sweat projects best in a 4-3 defense where he’s able to use his length to defend the run and rush the passer.

Charlie Campbell, Walter Football - In the passing-driven NFL, edge defenders who can get after the quarterback are always in demand. With his length, speed, athleticism, size and strength, Sweat has the potential to be an impactful edge defender with double-digit sack potential as a pro. Sweat is a dangerous pass-rusher who shows good instincts and natural feel as an edge rusher. He has good play recognition and uses his instincts to get in the right position to affect the quarterback or disrupt plays. For a tall defender, Sweat has a nice ability to redirect, and he uses that to get after the quarterback or defend the perimeter. As a run defender, Sweat sets the edge better than one would expect for a 252-pound edge defender. He uses his functional strength to stand up offensive linemen and nice job of stringing out perimeter runs to the sideline. Still, there are times when Sweat’s lack of weight can leave him knocked to the ground and pushed out of his gap. Thus, if he stays in a 4-3 defense in the NFL, he should add more weight to his frame to hold up as a base end or outside linebacker. Sweat is well suited for outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. For a 4-3, he will need to add weight and could revolve between Sam - strong side - linebacker and defensive end. Comparison: Manny Lawson.

Video breakdowns and film

Should Dolphins be interested?

Health is the question mark around Sweat right now. According to NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero, the heart condition that was diagnosed at the NFL Scouting Combine is still a concern for some teams. There are reports out there that teams are taking Sweat off their draft boards because of the situation, despite it having been considered a minimal risk and that Sweat did not need follow up testing or reevaluation.

Welcome to draft week. Amazing how talented players all seem to have flaws spotlighted in the last couple of weeks before the draft. I still do not think Sweat makes it to Miami’s pick at 13, but the Dolphins also seem to have the strange ability of landing quality players because of some odd situation - like Laremy Tunsil the last time the Dolphins were selecting 13th. If he is on the board, the Dolphins have to consider him. He is a player who can be both a 3-4 rush linebacker and a 4-3 defensive end. He may need to add some bulk if he is going to primarily play with his hand in the dirt, but he has been able to get after quarterbacks fairly routinely, as well as set the edge against the run, so the ability is there. He is not perfect, but he is a pretty high floor, incredibly high ceiling type of prospect.

And, this kind of speed is always a need:


How would you grade the Dolphins pick of Montez Sweat?

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