Two Division I programs and a brief stint at the junior college level later, and Montez Sweat officially has a home in the National Football League.
Sweat, a two-year standout at defensive end for Mississippi State, was selected by the the Washington Redskins with the No. 26 overall pick in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. The Redskins traded their 46th pick of this draft and a second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft to jump up and snag Sweat.
There was some worry that a heart condition diagnosed at the NFL Scouting Combine would hinder Sweat’s chances of being drafted in the first round. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, though, reported Thursday that the diagnosis was inaccurate.
After playing primarily as a tight end at Stephenson High School in Stone Mountain, Georgia, Sweat started his collegiate career at Michigan State as a defensive lineman. He played in two games during his freshman season (2014).
Sweat was suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules early in his sophomore season. He didn’t play in any games that year and was released from the program in April of 2016.
He played one year of JUCO football at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Wesson, Mississippi, before becoming a Bulldog. He racked up 22.5 sacks in his two seasons at Mississippi State.
Sweat emerged as one of the top pass-rushing threats in the country while at State. His record-breaking performance at the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this year further cemented his potential. Sweat clocked in at 4.41 seconds in the 40-yard dash, which set the record for the fastest time ever by a defensive end.
At 6-foot-6 and 245 pounds, Sweat was a matchup nightmare for even the best offensive linemen in the Southeastern Conference. The NFL is a different animal, but with proper guidance and training Sweat could become one of the most formidable edge rushers in the league.