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2018 NFL Draft prospect profile: Josh Sweat, EDGE, Florida State

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Sweat is under the radar, but could he be a spark for the Giants’ pass rush?

Florida v Florida State Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Most of the world is interested in the NFL Scouting Combine because of the athletic testing on the final day. But the entire process is important, and perhaps most important are the medical exams that the world at large doesn’t see.

Testament to that might be Josh Sweat of Florida State.

For Sweat, his draft stock might depend more heavily on the poking, prodding, scanning, and testing that takes place before the draft prospects even see the field at Lucas Oil Stadium. The FSU product suffered a scary knee injury before entering college, and teams will want to make sure it will hold up to the rigors of the NFL. But once he did get on the field at the Combine, Sweat’s workout created a buzz in a weekend of buzz-worthy performances.

Might that impressive workout have caught the eye of the New York Giants?

Measurables

Pros

  • Elite athlete. Tested extremely well and looks the part on the move.
  • Sudden, explosive first step.
  • Good “EDGE” frame. Decent height and long arms.
  • Shows good flexibility in his stance and plays with consistently great padl evel
  • Surprisingly strong bull rusher.
  • Good motor. Plays through the whistle and consistently pursues plays.
  • Played both DE and DT depending on down and sub-package.

Cons

  • Frame might be maxed out, could be limited to a pass rush specialist.
  • Flashes a rip and a swim move, but they aren’t terribly effective.
  • Has issues timing the snap.
  • Hasn’t produced up to his athletic potential.
  • Had a severe knee injury in his senior year of high school.

Prospect Video

What They’re Saying

COMPARES TO: Olivier Vernon, Giants - A disappointing suspension-shortened final season at the University of Miami dropped Vernon to the third round of the 2012 draft but that is where the team that perhaps scouted him the most - the Dolphins - struck gold. Though his surgically-repaired knee obviously will impact Sweat’s final draft status, he flashes the upfield burst and bend to be a legitimate threat off the edge and (like Vernon before him), his best football may still be ahead of him. Vernon, who recorded a total of nine sacks in three seasons at The U, has 44.5 sacks over six years in the NFL, with 15.5 coming over the past two seasons with New York.

-Rob Rang (NFLDraftScout)

Does He Fit The Giants?

If a team that features an athletic and aggressive defense could draw up a pass rusher, odds are he would look a lot like Josh Sweat.

Sweat is a freaky athlete, with startling strength at the point of attack as well as the kind of explosiveness and flexibility to make offensive tackles antsy. He has also shown some impressive work ethic coming back from a dislocated knee (and torn ACL) in his senior year of high school.

Most players with Sweat’s explosiveness and frame are pure speed rushers, but Sweat prefers to go through offensive tackles rather than around them. He consistently walks much larger linemen back with great leverage, uncoiling his hips and using his 34 ½ inch arms to create separation.

What he lacks is a “strike-out” counter move to capitalize on players trying to compensate for his explosive power. He has shown swim and rip moves, but they rarely work and he usually winds up hung up on blocks.

Sweat is not yet the sum of his parts, but like Danielle Hunter of the Vikings, the parts he has suggest a remarkably high ceiling once he unlocks his full potential. The biggest hurdle for him could be learning how to time the snap so he isn’t the last player moving.

Given James Bettcher’s emphasis on speed, the Giants could use an explosive rusher -- something they lack unless a surprising drop in weight brings about a different style of play from Jason Pierre-Paul or Vernon. If the team is comfortable with Sweat’s medical evaluation, he could be an intriguing piece for the Giants’ new defense.