There are looming concerns about Mississippi State’s Montez Sweat. Is there a chance New England will be able to snag the talented pass-rusher at the end of the first round?
A week before the 2019 NFL Draft, reports emerged stating Mississippi State defensive end Montez Sweat has an enlarged heart. Sweat, a favorite to be picked in the top 10, has been removed from multiple teams’ draft boards. Even with the unusual condition, Sweat still has immeasurable talent and drive, and will most likely end up getting drafted on Day One. The New England Patriots have a serious need for edge rushers, sparking the question: if Sweat falls to the last pick in the first round, should Belichick draft him?
The Addition of Michael Bennett
After the departure of Trey Flowers to Detroit, it was clear the Patriots would need to focus on the edge rusher position. New England acquired pass-rusher Michael Bennett from the Eagles to bolster the defensive line, but it’s unsure how long Bennett will remain a Patriot. He certainly will be a valuable asset as New England is in win-now mode while Tom Brady continues to reign. One of the valuable perks of adding Bennett is the veteran presence he will bring for the upcoming draftees.
Montez Sweat’s Draft Profile
Less than a month ago, projections were universal that Sweat would go somewhere in the top half of the draft. The 6-foot-6 pass rusher dazzled at the combine with his blazing 40-time (4.41) and all around physicality with each event. Even before the combine, scouts were incredibly impressed with the Mississippi State product.
It is worth noting that there isn’t a player in the NFL who is playing with the same condition. However, Sweat appears poised to set a new standard. Although a number of teams have taken the physical freak off of their board, there have also been reports that multiple teams are still comfortable with drafting Sweat. Given the high-floor, high-ceiling play delivered by Sweat, albeit combined with serious risk, it’s likely he will go in the first round.
What This Means for the Patriots
Belichick has the potential to trade up for the pass-rusher as well. The Patriots moved up in the 2012 NFL Draft to select Syracuse pass-rusher Chandler Jones 21st overall. Jones is an extremely similar comparison to Sweat, as both were raw physical projects when they finished their collegiate career. The Pats’ head coach also has been known to roll the dice when it comes to talent and injury risk with defensive linemen. This list includes Dominique Easley and Malcom Brown. Even though all of the listed players are no longer in New England, Belichick was able to get the most out of them from their time in Foxborough.
Sweat could end up being a wasted draft pick, or an incredible value for a team that takes him in the middle to the end of the first round. With the potential that he has, monitoring the health and progress that Sweat makes in the offseason will be a big deal in the football world.