For the third straight year, the Washington Redskins have used a first-round draft pick to improve their defensive front seven. With the 26th-overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Redskins added edge Montez Sweat out of Mississippi State.
The Redskins acquired the No. 26 pick via a trade with the Indianapolis Colts for the No. 46 pick and a second-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. Earlier in the night, the Redskins drafted quarterback Dwayne Haskins 15th overall.
Sweat will join a unit that includes 2017 first-round pick Jonathan Allen, 2018 first-round selection Daron Payne and 2016 fifth-round choice Matt Ioannidis, who signed a multi-year extension with the organization last week. The Redskins also added nose tackle Tim Settle in the fifth-round of last year’s draft.
While Sweat has shown the ability to play along the defensive line, the Redskins may also use him at outside linebacker opposite Ryan Kerrigan and in place for Preston Smith, who left Washington to join the Green Bay Packers in free agency.
Sweat made his share of headlines throughout the draft process, showing out at the Senior Bowl after blowing by offensive linemen in 1-on-1 drills. Plus, he has a lot of the tools scouts like to see from edge rushers.
According to NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein, Sweat is a “talent, similar to Danielle Hunter out of LSU, with above-average length and a prospect who should continue to grow into his frame, allowing him to unleash his rush flashes into a consistent attack. His transition as an NFL rusher will take some time, but like Hunter, he should come out on the other side as a good, impact starter as an every-down edge defender.
As a senior at Mississippi State, Sweat earned first-team All-America honors from the Football Writers Association of America and Sporting News, finishing as a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award, given annually to the nation’s top defensive player.
Sweat led the Bulldogs in sacks for the second consecutive season, tied for sixth nationally with 11.5 sacks along with 14 tackles for a loss, which ranked second on the team. Arguably his best game came against Auburn last season, in which he tallied three sacks and a forced fumble, both of which were career highs.
In his junior season, Sweat played both outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme and defensive end during 4-3 formations, earning first-team All-SEC honors. He became the first Bulldog since 2005 to lead the SEC in sacks with 10.5, good to tie him for eighth nationally.
For his career, Sweat recorded 101 tackles (29.5 for loss) and 22 sacks over 26 games.