Mississippi State defensive end Montez Sweat, who is from Stone Mountain and played at Stephenson High, became the first player taken in this year’s NFL draft from a Georgia high school or college when the Washington Redskins selected Sweat with the 26th pick Thursday night.
The Redskins made a trade with the Colts to move into the No. 26 spot.
Sweat, who started his career at Michigan State and was recruited as a tight end, set a modern-era record for a defensive lineman at the NFL combine when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds.
By comparison, the 4.41 seconds would have been the eighth fastest time among the wide receivers at the combine.
“Montez Sweat is a pass-rusher,” draft analyst Mel Kiper said before the draft. “He showed that early on. In fact, when we got into early October, I had Sweat as the eighth best player on the big board. Then he got kind of quiet.
“Then he came through with a couple of sacks late in the season. Then he had the really good Senior Bowl week. He’s got the length. He’s got the explosiveness.”
Sweat measured at 6-foot-6, 260 pounds at the combine, lifted 225 pounds 21 times on the bench press and showed a 36-inch vertical leap.
When asked at the combine who he models his game after, Sweat said, “I watch a lot of pass-rushers. I think old-time pass-rushers like Jason Taylor has a lot of my skill set. He’s long, he’s fast. I watch him a lot.”
The Football Writers Association of American voted Sweat first-team All-American, and the AP voters chose him for their second-team defense.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.