While the Los Angeles Rams have signed Dante Fowler Jr. and Clay Matthews, they need to find a long-term solution on the edge. It’s clear that Fowler is on a “prove-it” deal, and Matthews is likely on the last contract of his career. This makes Montez Sweat a perfect long term option. Sweat played his last two years at Mississippi State after transferring from Copiah-Lincoln Junior College. Michigan State did serve Sweat a dismissal for undisclosed reasons. A few weeks ago, a concerning report came in announcing that Sweat is suffering from a heart condition. It’s unclear if this news means Sweat is going to drop in the NFL Draft, but this may work in the Rams’ favor if he does.
College stats and honors:
2018: 53 tackles, 12 sacks and 1 forced fumble.
Career at Mississippi State: 105 tackles, 23.5 sacks and 1 forced fumble.
Honors: 2018 First-team All-American, 2018 Bednarik Award finalist, 2017 First-Team All-SEC and tied for most sacks in the SEC in 2017.
Sweat’s length and speed off the edge is what makes him look like a NFL starter day-one in the league. His length and style of play reminds me eerily of Aldon Smith. He is able to use his length to beat offensive linemen, which is displayed in his second long step once the ball is snapped. He ran the fastest 40-yard dash out of every defensive linemen at the NFL Combine this year and in NFL history, clocking in at 4.41 seconds. The next fastest player is Oregon’s Justin Hollins, who ran a 4.50 time in his 40-yard dash. Sweat’s speed is elite. He has great instincts and play recognition. He may not always get the sack, but his intelligence still affects quarterbacks. Sweat positions himself well to become an effective playmaker.
There is definitely more to be desired from Sweat’s upper body strength. Some offensive linemen did push him out of his gap responsibilities. He put up 225 pounds on bench press 21 times at the NFL Combine, which isn’t bad but not great either. It’s just an example that his upper body strength may be an issue against elite NFL tackles. His heart condition is another reason to think twice about drafting Sweat early. There are no reports of scouts suggesting that he’s falling down draft boards. It is something to pay close attention to as the NFL Draft approaches. Sweat’s issues at Michigan State is another reason to question taking him with a high draft pick. Character issues will be a concern to any team investing in a young player.
Expected Draft Round:
Montez Sweat’s performance at the NFL combine made him, arguably, a top-10 pick. News of an apparent heart condition may change things, but not that much. Sweat’s issue does not seem to be too serious but may be enough to see him fall to a mid-first round selection. If Les Snead wants Sweat, he will likely have to trade up in the NFL Draft.