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Atlanta Falcons prospect scouting report: DE Montez Sweat, Mississippi State

What does one of the best defenders in the draft have to offer to the Falcons? Let’s find out.

TaxSlayer Bowl - Mississippi State v Louisville Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The defensive line theme continues with Eric Robinson as he focuses on another elite prospect that could enhance the Atlanta Falcons defensive line.

We all know it’s coming. At this juncture of the offseason, it is quite obvious that the Atlanta Falcons are going to make multiple additions to the defensive line in the April NFL Draft. A matter of ‘when’ and not ‘if’. Sitting at the 14th overall selection in the upcoming draft, the Falcons may have an opportunity to grab a difference making talent. Allow me to introduce another prospect that instill some much needed pass rushing punch to the Falcons defense.

Montez Sweat Scouting Report

Height: 6’5

Weight: 260 pounds

Career stats: 105 tackles, 30.5 tackles for loss, 23.5 sacks

Games watched: 2017 vs. Alabama, 2017 vs. Arkansas, 2018 vs. Kansas State, 2018 vs. Alabama, 2018 vs. Auburn, 2018 vs. Ole Miss, 2019 vs. Iowa

Strengths: Sweat is equipped with prototype NFL size for today’s modern defensive end, along with that great size is a wingspan that carries 84 34 inches and 10 inch hands. At the NFL Combine, Sweat impressed greatly with a 4.41 40-yard dash (sheesh), over a 10-foot broad jump, and a 7.00-second 3-cone drill which was fifth amongst all edge rushers at the Combine. So you can easily tell that Sweat falls under the “freak of nature” description. Thanks to his long frame, Sweat’s first step burst covers ground quickly, which is bad news for opposing linemen with modest, choppy footwork. At the point of attack, Sweat’s length makes it difficult at times for linemen to apply favorable hand placement. Speaking of hands, Sweat displays active hands and can club or rip when necessary.

That incredible wingspan comes into effect as a tackler, jumping passing lanes when unable to get to the quarterback, as well as swiping at quarterbacks to attempt to create strip sacks. Sweat knows how to set a strong edge in run defense thanks to his play strength at the point of attack. Sweat’s athleticism is scary at times and you tend to forget every now and then that he is a defensive end. His production in 2018 earned him first team All-SEC honors and second team All-American placement.

NCAA Football: Auburn at Mississippi State Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Weaknesses: Lateral movement is constantly questioned and Sweat has yet to show consistency in this area. Fluidity in his hips is not often on display when tasked with moving laterally. Which also presents questions as far as his ability to make plays in space. A key aspect for many pass rushers is the ability to convert speed-to-power efficiently, which is a facet that Sweat did not necessarily show often until the Senior Bowl and not on film. Multiple reports have recently surfaced of Sweat having a pre-existing heart condition that was revealed after Combine tests. It is considered minor, however it is at the very least worthy of storing in the memory vault.

Conclusion: If you love NFL Combine results, it is easy to fall in love with Sweat and his overall tools. It is not often you see a prospect of his size run straight line speed that is similar to running backs and wide receivers.

Prior to the Combine, Sweat was already considered one of the top edge rushers in the entire draft. But thanks to a stellar Senior Bowl week and the fireworks during the Combine, Sweat pretty much bolstered a top-15 selection at worst in the upcoming draft. There are very few prospects in the draft that possess the ceiling that he has and if selected by the Falcons, Sweat can carve out a niche that can have him as one of the best pass rushers not only in the NFC, but in the entire league as well. It is possible that depending on how the draft presents itself, the Falcons may have to move up to obtain his services. Make no mistake, with his potential, Sweat can be the answer to the pass rushing questions for the Falcons.