As we get closer and closer to the 2019 NFL Draft, it’s worth looking at some of the prospects the Buffalo Bills may be picking in less than two weeks. As we approach the big night, we take a look at the background of former Mississippi State Bulldogs defensive end Montez Sweat—a pass rusher expected to be taken within the first fifteen picks of the draft.
Sweat originally started as a tight end at Michigan State in 2014. After moving to defensive end, he decided to redshirt that season. In 2015, he got on the field for a couple games, but ending up being suspended for the rest of the season for a violation of team rules. Choosing to leave Michigan State, he enrolled at Copiah-Lincoln Junior College, where he excelled during his lone season. Starting to get offers from bigger colleges, Sweat decided on Mississippi State in 2017. His first season in Starkville was a continuation of his JUCO performance, leading the SEC with 10.5 sacks, to go with 48 tackles and 15.5 tackles for loss. His senior season in 2018 was even more productive, earning 11.5 sacks and 53 tackles.
Similar to a player we highlighted last week in Brian Burns, Sweat comes in as a lanky 6’5”, 260-lb prospect, with long arms and excessive speed. In the Bulldogs’ hybrid scheme, he needed to be big enough to play defensive end but athletic enough to play outside linebacker. While his agility and ability to turn the corner will never be his strong suit, his speed and strength make his bullrush deadly. His length also allows his to set a strong edge against the run. Running backs trying to run anywhere near him rarely escaped his grasp.
Sweat was considered to be a first-round pick entering the offseason, but his stock has been on the rise since a strong performance in the Senior Bowl led to an even stronger combine performance. Most mock drafts have him going in the top 15 now and, as is the case with Brian Burns, he could find himself pushed up the board simply due to the nature of his position.
Sweat was flagged with a pre-existing heart condition during the medical checks at the Combine, but it wasn’t deemed serious enough to remove him from any drills, and it doesn’t seem to have affected his draft stock any.