Data Scout Notes: 2017: 12-27-17 - Announced Early Entry into 2018 NFL Draft…NAC...2016: (+) Coming off Sept 2016 Knee INJ/Surgery/NAC...2015: NAM
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Josh Sweat Florida State Seminoles Defensive End 6-4, 250, 4.76, #9 Chesapeake, Virginia Oscar Smith High School Born March 29, 1997
01/04/18 - Florida State's Josh Sweat will forego his final year of eligibility and enter the NFL draft. The 6-foot-5, 253-pound defensive lineman led the Seminoles in sacks (5.5) and tackles for loss (12.5). He also had 56 tackles, which led the defensive line and was third on the team. Sweat chose not to play in the Seminoles' Independence Bowl victory over Southern Mississippi on Dec. 27. He said in a statement released by the school on Wednesday that he made the decision to enter the draft after discussions with his family. Sweat is the third Florida State player to declare for the draft, joining safety Derwin James and tight end Ryan Izzo.
Labeled the No. 1 prep defensive end in the country when he signed with Florida State and leaving the Seminoles early for the NFL despite fairly pedestrian sack totals in 2017, Sweat may have accomplished a true rarity - going from overrated to underrated in three short years.
Make no mistake, characterizing Sweat as overrated is not a slight to his talent. Rather, it is a reflection of the severity of the injury he suffered as a senior in high school, when he tore the ACL while dislocating his left knee in just the second game of the season. Had there been damage to the arteries, Sweat could have lost the lower portion of his leg.
Instead, in a testament to the medical treatment he received and his own hard work, Sweat recovered from the ACL reconstruction in time to preserve his lofty ranking, sign with Florida State as one of the more highly touted preps in the country and even play 12 games for the Seminoles the next season. Though he later estimated that he was only "85%," Sweat emerged as one of the top young edge rushers in the ACC, recording 41 tackles, five tackles for loss, three sacks, three pass break-ups, three fumble recoveries and an interception in 2015.
With future second round pick DeMarcus Lawrence (Denver) earning most of the attention from opposing blockers in 2016, Sweat enjoyed the best statistical season of his college career. He appeared in 12 games (starting 10) and recorded 41 tackles, including 11.5 for loss and seven sacks for a team that finished No. 2 in the entire country in total sacks (51) over the 2016 campaign. As such, optimism was high that Sweat was on the verge of a breakout third season, especially given that all seven of his sacks in 2016 came over the final eight games of the year - which followed a second surgery on his left knee to repair a "minor" cartilage tear.
Instead, with opponents focusing more attention on him in 2017 (and Sweat inexplicably being pushed inside to defensive tackle), his sack numbers dropped slightly to 5.5 in 2017. He also recorded a career-high 56 tackles, including 12.5 tackles for loss. His production is all the more impressive given that Sweat opted not to play in the Independence Bowl after announcing his decision to apply for early entry into the 2018 NFL draft.
BACKGROUND Consensus five-star defensive end, ranked No. 1 in the nation at his position by 247Sports and Scout in the 2015 recruiting class...tabbed the country's fifth-best overall player by Scout, sixth-best by 247Sports, No. 11 by ESPN and No. 34 by Rivals...unanimous No. 1 prospect in Virginia...rated the second-best defensive end in the nation by Rivals and No. 3 by ESPN...only played in two games as a senior before a season-ending injury...had 94 tackles, 31 tackles for loss and 22 sacks as a junior at Oscar Smith in 2013...was named to the 2015 Under Armour All-America Game, but did not play...picked Florida State over Virginia Tech, Georgia, Oregon and Ohio State...born March 29, 1997...majoring in social science.
STRENGTHS Possesses a prototypical build for a modern day edge rusher with broad shoulders, vines for arms and a tapered athletic frame with good overall weight distribution. Flashes good initial burst to cross the face of tackles off either side, incorporating strong, accurate hands to slap away at the reach of would-be blockers and showing good flexibility to dip his shoulder while accelerating around the arc. Raw athleticism shows in his ability to chase down ball-carriers, generating impressive closing speed and an explosive stopping power. Much stronger at the point of attack than his frame suggests, bending at the knees to anchor effectively and using his length and upper body strength to bench press would-be blockers, disengaging quickly when he sees the ball nearby. Uses his long arms to lasso ball-carriers, showing the strength to rip them to the ground or trip them up from behind. Improved awareness of passing lanes with half of his six career passes broken up coming in 2017... -- Rob Rang 1/6/2018
WEAKNESSES Is not the sum of his parts, showing less-than-ideal instincts for the position, too often losing sight of the ball and, at times, getting stuck on blocks. Flashes the initial burst to beat tackles upfield but did not consistently beat opponents with a speed rush, relying more on twists and stunts to free him up and using his burst as a complementary piece rather than as a go-to strategy that opponents must account for... Seemed to favor his surgically-repaired leg, at times, and possesses very long legs, which could leave him vulnerable to future injuries. Further, Sweat shows just average awareness among edge rushers to cut blocks and does not possess ideal lateral agility to catch elusive ball-carriers in space, too often failing to break down effectively and resorting to lunging. A bit hot and cold in terms of his lateral and downfield pursuit. Raised questions about his commitment to the team with the business decision to sit out the Independence Bowl, the final game of his college career. Comes with obvious medical red-flags due to multiple surgeries on his left knee, which will require a careful evaluation at the Combine. - Rob Rang 1/6/2018
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.
IN OUR VIEW:If his surgically-repaired left knee checks out with team doctors at the Combine, Sweat could make a late climb up draft boards as (pardon the pun) this kid is dripping with potential. He is built exactly as NFL teams want edge rushers to look, flashing the burst, bend and power to live up to his lofty pre-injury billing. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. If teams are not comfortable with Sweat's recovery, the former blue chip prospect could be in long for a long wait on draft weekend.
Started all 12 games, recording 56 tackles, 12.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks and three pass breakups…his 12.5 TFL and 5.5 sacks both led the team…named to the pre-season Nagurski Award watch list…made his presence felt in the season opener against No. 1 Alabama, producing five tackles and a sack on 2016 SEC player of the year Jalen Hurts…went on a dominant three-game stretch vs. No. 13 Miami, at Duke and vs. Louisville, totaling 18 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks…turned in a season-best performance against Louisville, totaling nine tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack on the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson…made a tackle for loss and a sack against rival Florida.
Made 10 starts and appeared in 12 games, finishing with 41 tackles, 11.5 TFLs, 7.0 sacks, a pass breakup, a forced fumble and six quarterback hurries…his 7.0 sacks ranked third on the team and came in the season’s final eight weeks
The attention he received from opposing offenses helped fellow defensive ends DeMarcus Walker (16.0 sacks) and Brian Burns (9.5) spring free to rack up statistics and capture All-America and Freshman All-America honors, respectively…helped the Seminoles finish No. 1 in the nation in sacks per game (3.92) and No. 2 in overall sacks (51.0)…outstanding against the run, helping the Noles rank No. 21 in the nation in rush defense (128.0 rush yards per game)…had three tackles in the season’s first three weeks, but steadily improved throughout the season, culminating by racking up 6.5 TFLs and 3.5 sacks over the final four games…led FSU in tackles at Syracuse with a career-high eight stops and tied for the team lead versus No. 13 Florida (seven stops)…added 1.5 sacks against both the Orange and Gators…also forced a fumble against Florida…finished with five tackles, 1.0 TFL and a half sack in the win over No. 6 Michigan in the Orange Bowl….made three tackles and recorded his first sack of the season at No. 10 Miami and had seven stops versus Wake Forest…tallied three tackles and a sack against No. 3 Clemson and added two stops at NC State…had four tackles versus Boston College.
A true freshman who came back from a serious injury in high school to contribute from day one for the Seminole defense…played in all 13 games, starting nine...finished with 41 tackles, 5.0 TFL, two sacks, an interception, three pass break-ups, three quarterback hurries and three fumble recoveries en route to Freshman All-America Honorable Mention accolades from CampusInsider.com
His 41 tackles are tied for 21st on FSU’s all-time list for tackles by a freshman…wrapped up the season tied for the ACC lead and ranked seventh nationally in fumbles recovered...made his collegiate debut in the season opener against Texas State and finished with three tackles…first career start came at Boston College – finished with three tackles including a TFL…recorded a season-high six tackles three times including at Georgia Tech…lone interception on the year came against the Yellow Jackets when he tipped a pass into the air and caught it for his first career INT...also added his first career sack against Georgia Tech...had six tackles at No. 1 Clemson and at Florida...tallied 1.5 tackles for loss in a win over NC State…closed out his freshman season with a career-high two TFLs, including a sack and a pass defended against Houston in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl…was recognized as one of FSU’s Top Newcomers of the Year on defense at the end of the year banquet.
Attended Oscar Smith High School, Chesapeake, Virginia
Consensus five-star defensive end, ranked No. 1 in the nation at his position by 247Sports and Scout in the 2015 recruiting class…tabbed the country’s fifth-best overall player by Scout, sixth-best by 247Sports, No. 11 by ESPN and No. 34 by Rivals…unanimous No. 1 prospect in Virginia…rated the second-best defensive end in the nation by Rivals and No. 3 by ESPN…only played in two games as a senior before a season-ending injury…had 94 tackles, 31 tackles for loss and 22 sacks as a junior at Oscar Smith in 2013…was named to the 2015 Under Armour All-America Game, but did not play…picked Florida State over Virginia Tech, Georgia, Oregon and Ohio State.
Born March 29, 1997...majoring in history.
Draft Scout Player News
03/21/18 - Florida State Pro Day: A freer, faster Sweat is an exciting idea for scouts, especially given this year's below-average crop of edge rushers. Sweat recorded a career-high 56 tackles in 2017, leading the team with 12.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks while splitting time between defensive end and defensive tackle. NFLDraftScout.com currently ranks him as the 11th-best outside linebacker with a fourth-round grade. Sweat said after the workout that the Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans and the Bucs have expressed the most interest so far. Sweat also confirmed reports from the Combine that he passed the medical evaluations done there on his surgically repaired left leg. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
03/21/18 - Florida State Pro Day: Sweat has plenty of buzz after the former five-star recruit posted another impressive workout. The 6-foot-5, 251-pound Sweat was one of the stars at the Combine in Indianapolis, officially clocking at 4.53 seconds in the 40-yard dash, with an explosive 39.5-inch vertical jump and 10-foot-4-inch broad jump. His workout numbers are all the more impressive given that three and a half years ago it was feared that he might lose his left leg after a gruesome dislocation and ACL tear ruined his senior season in high school. Despite that ghastly injury, Sweat was so productive in high school -- including 22 sacks as a junior -- that he signed with FSU as the most highly regarded defensive end in the country. The agility and speed that earned him such accolades were apparent Tuesday as Sweat sizzled through position drills conducted by Martindale, including bag drills as a pass rusher and dropping into space and catching passes as a "traditional" linebacker.After wearing a bulky brace on his left knee throughout his career at Florida State, Sweat notably ran without it Tuesday, acknowledging after the workout that he feels "free." He added: "Since I've got it off, I'm moving." - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
02/27/18 - 2018 NFL Combine: Key Medical Evaluations: Josh Sweat, DE/OLB, Florida State...Sweat should test off the charts, but the medicals might be more important. He suffered a dislocated kneecap and torn ACL in his left knee as a senior in high school, requiring immediate surgery and near amputation. Sweat also suffered a torn meniscus in that same knee as a sophomore. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
02/27/18 - 2018 NFL Combine: Athleticism Key for these Prospects: Josh Sweat, DE/OLB, Florida State...While the medicals are the most important part of his Combine, Sweat should also be a workout warrior with his movement skills and pure speed. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
01/04/18 - Florida State's Josh Sweat will forego his final year of eligibility and enter the NFL draft. The 6-foot-5, 253-pound defensive lineman led the Seminoles in sacks (5.5) and tackles for loss (12.5). He also had 56 tackles, which led the defensive line and was third on the team. Sweat chose not to play in the Seminoles' Independence Bowl victory over Southern Mississippi on Dec. 27. He said in a statement released by the school on Wednesday that he made the decision to enter the draft after discussions with his family. Sweat is the third Florida State player to declare for the draft, joining safety Derwin James and tight end Ryan Izzo. - AP College Football