Mississippi State defensive end Montez Sweat is projected as a first-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. Photo by: Jim Lytle/Special to The Dispatch
April 10, 2019 10:07:54 AM
By BEN PORTNOY
Mississippi State defensive end Montez Sweat is headed to Music City.
It was announced Tuesday that Sweat will attend the NFL Draft in Nashville. The first round is April 25.
Sweat is widely considered to be a first-round prospect and is likely to hear his name read within the first 10 picks of the night.
ESPN Draft Analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has Sweat slated No. 8 to the Detroit Lions in his latest mock draft.
"It's obviously a big day, big stepping stone," Sweat said during MSU Pro Day. "And everybody watches and wants to get drafted, so yeah, it's on my mind a lot."
But for a guy who left Michigan State after his freshman year, spent a season at Copiah-Lincoln Community College and then headed to Starkville, what makes him so good?
The physical is an obvious pull for NFL teams. At 6-foot-6 and 260 pounds, his frame speaks for itself.
Sweat's 40-yard dash of 4.41 seconds at the NFL Combine -- the fastest time for a defensive lineman in the modern era -- gave scouts a glance at his athleticism.
His 11-foot-2 broad jump and 7.0-second three-cone drill furthered that narrative.
"I thought it was for sure possible to run pretty fast," Sweat said. "I mean, I obviously exceeded my expectations, but when you put the work in and you get results it was no surprise to me."
Drills aside, Sweat's numbers the past two seasons are enough to warrant a top-flight selection.
He totaled 11.5 sacks and 14 tackles for a loss last season and lead the Southeastern Conference with 10.5 sacks the year prior.
Sweat's 22 sacks the past two years ranked second among all Power 5 Conference players.
At MSU's Pro Day he showed more of the on-field side to his game. Working through mock-pass coverage drills, he flashed an ability to run with receivers and running backs, despite his slot in the trenches.
"I feel like I'm a very unique player," Sweat said.
It's been seven years since an MSU player was selected in the first round. That honor belongs to Fletcher Cox, who went No. 12 to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2012.
It's also conceivable that Sweat could be the highest drafted Bulldog since running back Michael Haddix -- the No. 8 overall pick in the 1983 draft to the Baltimore Colts.
But no matter the number he's chosen, Sweat will be there in Nashville to hear his name called.
"I'm just trying to be as humble as possible all the way," he said. "I'll just be blessed with any team that takes me and we're going to take it from there."
DAWG NOTES: MSU appears to be on the mend. Head coach Joe Moorhead has harped on injuries hampering what his team can do in practice all spring.
That said, only junior linebacker R.J. Jennings and junior safety C.J. Morgan wore yellow limited participant jerseys Tuesday.
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