Jaguars path to the draft | The case for DE Montez Sweat at No. 7

Jaguars could opt for highly productive pass rusher with first-round pick

By Cole Pepper - Sports anchor/reporter
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Montez Sweat #9 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs reacts after a tackle for loss against the Louisville Cardinals during the TaxSlayer Bowl at EverBank Field on December 30, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida. The Bulldogs won 31-27. (Photo by Joe…

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - While the Jaguars most glaring needs are on the offensive side of the ball, the talent that could be available when Jacksonville is on the clock with the seventh pick in the draft may be too tempting to pass up. Particularly if Mississippi State defensive end Montez Sweat is on the board. 

Sweat, who measured at the combine at 6-foot-6 inches and 260 pounds, wowed scouts with a 4.41 clocking in the 40-yard dash, a combine record for defensive linemen. He also showcased a 36-inch vertical leap--that's about the same as former NBA dunk contest champion Blake Griffin's vertical leap has been measured.

Sweat began his college career at Michigan State but transferred to Mississippi State after a season in junior college. His two seasons for the Bulldogs saw him produce substantial numbers. As a junior, he led the Southeastern Conference with 10.5 sacks, and as a senior, he tallied 11.5 sacks. In both seasons, he was named All-SEC and was selected as a second-team All-American by the Associated Press.

NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein wrote that Sweat's "transition as an NFL rusher will take some time, but...he should come out on the other side as a good, impact starter as an every-down edge defender."

You can check out some of Sweat's highlights here:

There is some concern about Sweat's heart. A medical check at the combine showed a pre-existing heart condition. Sweat was cleared to work out at the combine and at his pro day at Mississippi State.

If the Jaguars select Sweat, he would be projected to fill the void left by the trade of Dante Fowler last season. In the best-case scenario, Sweat could join Yannick Ngakoue and Calais Campbell on the field in obvious passing situations, with Campbell moving inside to push the pocket with Marcell Dareus. Like most pass rushers, Sweat will have to develop a more professional approach to rushing the passer. In the NFL, rarely does a player simply run past offensive tackles consistently. But his explosive speed can make a difference rather quickly if used in the proper manner.

 

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