Coming back from a gruesome leg injury in high school, Florida State’s Josh Sweat became one of college football’s most tantalizing prospects with the Seminoles. Sweat is an elite athlete, testing in the 95th-percentile, and had flashes of Jadeveon Clowney-esque brilliance at Florida State.
There is a reason Sweat is viewed in the second-tier of pass rushers, however, and it’s the question of consistency. For every grown-ass-man-making-a-grown-ass-man-play moments he had with the Seminoles, there were a handful of nothing rushes and lazily chasing the ball carrier against the run.
Sweat has a powerful get off, launching into offensive linemen’s chests. Strength and power are his greatest strengths getting off the ball. His jumps are late or lack urgency despite being the best athlete at the line of scrimmage the majority of the time. When he does put it together, it’s flashes of total brilliance: The jump, the strength and the finish.
i think this is the best jump Josh Sweat has ever had but i'm here for it pic.twitter.com/c4Ci8BhkWF— Alistair Corp (@alistaircorp) March 16, 2018
Sweat has the size and short area quickness to be a devastating inside rusher in a team’s sub package, or alternatively on stunts to the inside. Slower footed guards don’t stand a chance against him.
he's gonna kill it playing inside in a team's nascar package. crosses the tackle's face in an instant pic.twitter.com/cXHaaoSq5b— Alistair Corp (@alistaircorp) March 16, 2018
Sweat’s strength at the point of attack is when he fully displays his Clowney-esque, game-wrecking ability. He plays with a wide base and tremendous strength at the point of attack, pushing his blocker into the running back’s path and finishing.
This is some Clowney shit at the point of attack pic.twitter.com/gdYcCU8kNQ— Alistair Corp (@alistaircorp) March 16, 2018
Sweat has the strength to put offensive linemen on the ground and plays with an edge, unafraid to play right up to the line. His competitive toughness was most apparent in Florida State’s biggest game of 2017, against Alabama. Against the highest level of competition possible in college football, Sweat didn’t back down.
can't help but like the edge Sweat plays with pic.twitter.com/uhfaHeH55e— Alistair Corp (@alistaircorp) March 16, 2018
Sweat has quick, active hands but at times he resembles a more frantic rusher than one executing a plan. Despite having freakishly long arms (34 5/8”), Sweat is proficient at disengaging with power, able to fully extend and get off a blocker. His hand technique and get off are the two biggest traits needing refinement in the NFL.
Rushing from the edge, Sweat does a terrific job dipping his inside shoulder and beating tackles around the corner. His ability to bend will be that much more dangerous if he can get off the ball with consistency at the next level.
Florida State would deploy Sweat in-tight regularly, aligning him head-up over the tackle. With his ability to bend, he might be better served rushing from a wide alignment where he can maximize his physical traits.
Sweat has the highest upside of any pass rusher in this year’s second tier. He has outstanding athletic ability and has shown flashes of dominance during his time in college. An outstanding Scouting Combine may have been enough to bump him into round one consideration, and outside of Harold Landry, he’s the best EDGE on the Seahawks Draft Board.