With a myriad of options still on the board, including Brian Burns from Florida State, some of you may wonder why I went with the safe, very common pick of Montez Sweat here.
The Detroit Lions need pass rushing help more than any other position group on the roster, even after the signing of Trey Flowers in free agency. With what is left on the board here, it was a no=brainer to pick from among the various pass rushers still available. Rashan Gary could provide an anchor with inside versatility if the team could harness his athleticism more than Michigan could. Ed Oliver has the potential to be a Geno Atkins type of disruptor on the interior. Brian Burns has gotten better every season and his versatile moveset and coachability, coupled with an already polished and devastating spin move has made him a popular choice. And still, with the eighth overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft (POD Community mock, anyway), the Detroit Lions select Montez Sweat.
This is the big draw, am I right? Sweat came into the NFL Combine with some questions. Will he have any real bend, as he often shows up stiff on tape? Will he measure out explosive enough to justify all the post Senior Bowl hype?
Well, breaking the all-time record for the 40-yard dash at defensive end is a good way to start a Combine run. Posting elite explosion drills is a good way to keep your strengths in focus. Hitting 7.00 in the 3-Cone and posting an elite shuttle time is a fantastic way to silence questions about your ability to bend. Even his bench, which measured in one rep below average, is incredibly impressive when you factor in his nearly 36-inch arms.
2014 (Michigan State): 2 Solo Tackles, 0.5 TFL, 1.0 Sack
2015 (Michigan State): No stats
2017 (Mississippi State): 21 Solo Tackles, 15.5 TFL, 10.5 Sacks
2018 (Mississippi State): 27 Solo Tackles, 14.5 TFL, 12.0 Sacks, 1FF
Montez Sweat barely saw the field as a Spartan, but once he took to the field for the Bulldogs he was a monster. An explosive first step and the speed to take advantage of the next few strides made him difficult to handle. His natural length gave him an advantage once he was able to gain leverage with his burst, so whether it was the pass or run game you had to take Montez Sweat into account the moment the center puts the ball into motion.
When it came down to it, this was really a choice between Brian Burns and Montez Sweat for me. Both are elite athletes. Both are scheme fits. Both offer versatility in where they can line up on any given play. In the end, though, it came down to length. It’s a staple trait of all of Matt Patricia’s players, guys who can use their length to keep the running lanes dirty and wrap up. The Lions would use Sweat similarly to how they used Ziggy Ansah, only two tenths of a second faster. I would expect a similar impact from him in this scheme, as well, with Sweat lining up next to an eater of space like Damon Harrison or A’Shawn Robinson while Trey Flowers pushes quarterbacks in his direction. It’s not a defensive front I’d like to face if I’m an offensive coordinator, to be sure.
What grade do you give the Montez Sweat pick?
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