Defensive end/Edge rusher | Mississippi State | Redshirt Senior
Height: 6-foot-6 | Weight: 260 pounds
2018: 53 tackles (27 solo), 14 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble in 13 games; ranked sixth in FBS with 0.88 sacks per game in 2018; First-Team All-SEC by coaches and media; First-Team All-American (FWAA, Sporting News, Phil Steele); Second-Team All-America by _AP_; Second-Team All-American by Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports; two-time SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week
Career: In two seasons at Mississippi State, Sweat totaled 101 tackles (48 solo), 29.5 tackles for loss, 22 sacks and 1 forced fumble; ranked 10th in FBS with 0.81 sacks per game in 2017; tied for SEC lead with 10.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss in 2017; First-Team All-SEC by coaches and media in 2017 and 2018; three-time SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week in 2017; appeared in just four games on defense at Michigan State from 2014-15 after joining the Spartans as a tight end prospect
View photos of Mississippi State DE Montez Sweat.
Summary: NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein compared Sweat to a name well-known among Vikings fans and across the league, 2018 Pro Bowler Danielle Hunter, who has recorded 40 sacks in his first four seasons in Minnesota.
“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,” Zierlein wrote. “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.”
Click here for Zierlein’s full report.
The Vikings tabbed Hunter in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft, but many project that Sweat will come off the board in the first round.
Analytics site Pro Football Focus ranked Sweat first among edge rushers with a run-stop percentage of 12.7 and ninth with a pass-rush productivity of 11.1.
PFF combines total tackles (36), run-play snap counts (165) and defensive stops (34) — “what we judge to be tackles that prevent an offensive success (defined as gaining 40 percent of required yardage on first down, 60 percent on second down and the entire required yardage on third or fourth)” — to assess the effectiveness of tackles.
PFF’s pass-rush productivity is a score that is calculated by the “frequency of pressure generated by a defender.” Sacks, hits and hurries are totaled with extra weight placed on sacks and other multipliers implemented.
All told, PFF tallied 48 sacks, hits and hurries by Sweat on 267 pass-rush plays.
Sweat only spent two seasons in Starkville, but his 22 career sacks rank fifth in school history, and his 29.5 tackles for loss were good for eighth-best by a Bulldog.
Sweat bolstered his short but impressive resume at Mississippi State with an impressive week of practices at the Senior Bowl and blew the doors off Lucas Oil Stadium by running the 40-yard dash at the combine in a position-record 4.41 seconds.
He also finished in the top five in this year’s grouping in the broad jump and 3-cone drill.
Stacking up: Draft analyst Dane Brugler, who writes for The Athletic, ranked Sweat as the seventh-best edge rusher in this year’s field. NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks most recently listed Sweat as the fourth-best edge rusher in his newest post-combine positional rankings.
Sweat is listed as the No. 12 overall prospect in NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah’s most recent top 50.
“Overall, Sweat needs to get stronger, but his combination of length, agility and production makes him an easy sell in the draft room,” Jeremiah wrote.
Fellow alum: Sweat, a native of Stone Mountain, Georgia, attended Stephenson High School, the alma mater of fellow former MSU Bulldog Preston Smith, a second-round selection by Washington in 2015. Smith has 24.5 career sacks and signed with Green Bay during free agency.