Former New York Giants general manager George Young once articulated the “Planet Theory” of drafting. The theory goes that there are only a few people walking the planet with truly elite size and athleticism.
No player in the 2024 NFL Draft embodies the “Planet Theory” better than Texas defensive tackle T’Vondre Sweat. At 6-foot-4 and (an estimated) 360 pounds, Sweat could be mistaken for a planet himself, or at least a moon. But as eye-catching as his physique is, it’s his athleticism that’s truly eye-popping. He isn’t just a big guy, he’s a big guy who can move.
The Giants already have one of those in Dexter Lawrence, who’s emerged as one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL over the last two seasons. The DT position isn’t typically viewed as having the same value as some other positions, but there’s an in-built scarcity to players with physical and athletic traits like Lawrence or Sweat.
Can the Giants afford to double down on those traits if they get the opportunity to do so?
Prospect: T’Vondre Sweat (93)
Games Watched: vs. Alabama (2023), vs. Kansas (2023), vs. Oklahoma (2023), vs. Kansas State (2023)
Weight: 362 pounds (estimated)
Arm length: 33⅝ inches
Hand size: 10⅜ inches
- Play strength
- Hand usage
- Competitive toughness
- Run defense
Sweat is an absolutely massive, and massively powerful, defensive tackle. He has a rare combination of size and athleticism at 6-foot-4, 362 pounds while still possessing a surprising burst as well as great short-area quickness and agility.
Sweat was an interior defensive tackle for the Texas Longhorn and usually aligned at 0 or 1-technique, though he did play out of the 3 or 4i technique on occasion. He does a good job of keying the snap and has a very good first step. Sweat plays with good leverage, maximizing his already impressive play strength, firing out of his stance without popping up. He gains good ground with his first, second, and third steps, particularly when attacking individual gaps.
Sweat’s mass and initial burst make him a handful – or several handfuls – for individual blockers and teams are frequently forced to double team him. He’s able to control those double teams thanks to a wide base and good hand usage. He’s strong enough to avoid being moved by double teams and can even force them back on occasion. Sweat also has heavy and active hands and can defeat blockers’ hands and provide pressure up the middle.
His run defense is as expected, and he does a good job of clogging interior gaps. Sweat is also capable of two-gapping and making plays off of blockers if runners challenge one of his gap responsibilities. He also has a good motor in pursuit and will get off blocks and pursue the ball carrier or receivers near the line of scrimmage.
- Foot speed
Sweat’s massive frame is a double-edged sword, and his weaknesses are the price paid for his exceptional mass and power.
His most immediate weakness on a down-to-down basis is a lack of foot speed. Sweat has a great initial burst with surprising quickness and agility. However, his play speed slows considerably after his third step or so. He simply lacks the foot speed to pursue over any kind of distance and won’t be running anyone down from behind.
There are also questions regarding Sweat’s endurance. He was frequently rotated off the field for Texas and there were signs of fatigue later in games. It’s fair to question how he’ll hold up over the course of a 17-game season or if he could be a liability against teams that use no-huddle offenses to keep him from leaving the field.
T’Vondre Sweat projects as a starting defensive tackle with scheme versatility at the NFL level.
Sweat is an exceptional athlete – for his size – who can play defensive tackle for any defense commonly run in the NFL. Every front can use a good nose tackle, and Sweat has the ability to be a rock in the middle of a defense. He can command, control, and overpower double teams, not only clogging interior running lanes, but also keeping linebackers clean to flow to the ball or facilitating free runs for blitzers.
Sweat also has surprising upside as a pass rusher thanks to his burst, short-area quickness, agility and active hands. He may never be a consistent or truly dominant pass rush threat, but his ability to collapse the pocket or generate pressure up the middle should be respected by offensive coordinators.
Teams will obviously need to be wary of the downsides that come with Sweat’s unique frame. His workload will need to be managed to keep him productive in high leverage situations. Teams might also want to ask him to “slim” down to 350 or even 340 pounds. That could help with his endurance as well as his speed over any kind of distance.
Does he fit the Giants?
Final Word: A fringe first-round talent.