Position: Edge defender
Weight: 251 pounds
School: Florida State Seminoles
Combine Performance Data
40-yard dash: 4.53 seconds (third among defensive linemen)
Vertical jump: 39.5 inches (best among defensive linemen)
Broad jump: 10 feet, 4 inches (tied for third among defensive linemen)
20-yard shuttle: 4.28 seconds (tied for fifth among defensive linemen)
Josh Sweat 2018 NFL Draft Profile
Pretty much every major program in the nation had Josh Sweat on its recruiting radar. And a torn ACL/dislocated knee suffered during his senior year at Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake, VA did very little to dissuade them from pursuing his commitment. Rated the 34th best prospect in the nation by Rivals, Sweat was part of Florida State’s consensus top-five recruiting class in 2015. He enrolled early which enabled him to take part in spring practices.
Sweat showed no ill effects from the knee injury as a true freshman. He saw action in every game for the Noles that year, making nine starts. His five tackles for loss were fourth on the team and he added three fumble recoveries which ranked seventh in the nation. The following year, he played an even more prominent role on a defense which led the nation with 3.92 sacks per game. The fearsome foursome of Sweat, Demarcus Walker, Brian Burns and fellow 2018 draft prospect Derrick Nnadi combined for 37.5 sacks in 2016.
Though Sweat’s sack numbers declined as a junior, his tackling productivity did not. Starting all 12 games for the first time in his career, he posted 56 total tackles and 12.5 tackles for loss. Both were career highs with the latter ranking second on the team behind Burns. At the conclusion of the regular season, he joined teammate Derwin James in declaring for the draft and announcing he wouldn’t play in FSU’s bowl game. He certainly allayed concerns about his injury history by putting up superb Combine measurables.
- possesses ideal arm length and hand size for a next level edge rusher;
- adjusts and reacts in traffic to wrap up target;
- can beat tackles inside with lateral quickness;
- takes quality pursuit arcs on stunt moves;
- showed progressive year over year improvement in forcing negative plays;
- has value as a weakside and strongside 4-3 EDGE as well as a 3-4 SAM;
- Combine data suggests above average lower body twitch and burst.
- has a somewhat linear and undersized frame for a hand in the ground edge player;
- lacks ability to stun tackles onto their heels with power rush;
- must add a counter move to avoid becoming a one-dimensional pass rusher;
- needs to get hands up higher on bigger linemen to create more optimum leverage;
- tends to key on blocker rather than ball carrier;
- doesn’t play with enough urgency when play develops outside tackles;
- medicals are a bit of a concern with multiple knee injuries in his history.
NFL Comparison: Jordan Jenkins
Projection: Early second round
Sweat added to the discussion surrounding players who sit out their team’s bowl game when he did so this year. It’s a phenomenon that certainly isn’t going away anytime soon. That’s especially true for players with a major injury in their background like him. His decision to focus on the draft process appeared to pan out after he finished top five among defensive linemen in every Combine drill he participated in.
Though he possesses many of the physical traits required to succeed at the next level, Sweat’s ability to do so might depend on scheme. Teams who employ a 3-4 might be able to unlock his potential by utilizing him as a strongside backer in that particular formation. But it’s probably going to come with some growing pains as he played almost exclusively as a 4-3 end at Florida State. All in all, his ceiling is fairly high compared to other prospects at his position. But it’s contingent on him developing a symbiotic relationship with his position coach from the standpoint of fully leveraging what he’s capable of.