Mississippi State defensive end Montex Sweat was one of the big winners at last month’s NFL Combine. He ran a ridiculous 4.41 40 at 6’6” and 260 pounds, and had monstrous measurements with 10 1/2” inch hands and 35 3/4” arms. Physically, he is everything you could want in an edge rusher, with the size and speed to overpower even the best NFL tackles.
Except for one thing.
Mississippi State DE Montez Sweat’s Combine medical exams revealed a pre-existing heart condition, sources say. My story on one of the draft’s top prospects: https://t.co/bjI1eKVOSm— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 17, 2019
Much like Tony Stark/Iron Man, who has everything going for him in life except for a weak heart, Sweat’s incredible Combine may mean very little if teams are not comfortable drafting him because of this. The NFL also saw a situation like this last year, where the top-ranked defensive tackle Maurice Hurst was sent home from the Combine with a heart condition of his own. He returned to participate in the Michigan Pro Day, but that wasn’t enough. Hurst, who had been projected to go in the top ten, fell to the fifth round, where the Raiders snatched him up. So far, there haven’t been any ill effects for Hurst, who is widely regarded as the biggest steal of the 2018 Draft.
Sweat was not sent home from the Combine, so maybe his heart problem isn’t as bad as Hurst’s was. Maybe it won’t matter in the end for him. But I can’t imagine a worse situation for a team than their young star DE dropping dead of a heart attack in the middle of a game, so who knows how many teams will be wary of drafting Sweat. Either way, this draft just got way more volatile and interesting.
Perhaps Sweat could even fall to the late first or beyond, and be one of the answers to Oakland’s pass-rushing woes. Combined with Hurst, the Raiders could have their own Heart Foundation and raise the blood pressure of QBs around the league with the excellence of their execution.