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NFL draft profile: Mississippi State defensive lineman Montez Sweat

Five questions with one of the top pass rushers in the NFL draft

TAMPA — Montez Sweat doesn’t look like an NFL defensive end. He also doesn’t run like one.

The Mississippi State star blazed a 4.41 in the 40-yard dash, a scouting combine record for defensive linemen. At 6-foot-6, 260-pounds, he is built more like a tight end, which he was before converting to defense in college.

But Sweat has 35 ¾ inch arms and large hands of 10 ½ inches which allows him to keep offensive linemen off him. From a body-type standpoint, think Jason Taylor.

The NFL draft is loaded with defensive line talent and Sweat is right there with all of them, having recorded 19 sacks in the past two seasons for the Bulldogs.

What the Bucs are thinking

Tampa Bay was linked to Sweat at No. 5 overall in many mock drafts, particularly early this spring. But news of Sweat’s undisclosed heart condition has tempered expectations that he will go high in the first round of the draft.

Perhaps as a result, Sweat changed his mind about attending the NFL draft in Nashville.

Regardless, the Bucs have two former members of Mississippi State’s coaching staff working for Bruce Arians now. They should have some insight.

My guess is that Sweat is not off the Bucs draft board but he also may no longer be considered one of their top five players in the draft. If they trade down with the No. 5 overall pick, he may become a viable option.

Five questions for Montez Sweat

Describe your experience at the Senior Bowl?

The most valuable part of that experience was just getting there, getting a head start on showing teams who I am as a person, and just practicing and learning from those big NFL coaches. That was a big upside.

Why did you get suspended at Michigan State?

I was there for a year. I started out young and immature, and I was dismissed. I’ve grown from that so much, and I just want to keep on building on that and show teams I’ve matured a lot.

What’s the advantages to being a stand-up rusher?

It’s definitely an advantage. You get to see more things, and you can be a little bit more explosive coming out of a two-point. There are a lot of things you can do out of that.

Who do you compare yourself to?

I’m my own person, I want to create my own type of success. Just being known as one of the best pass-rushers would be a blessing.

Do you see projections of where you’re going?

I don’t really pay attention to the blogs. I mean, of course you hear that you’re one of the pass-rushers that people are looking at. But you just want to take that stuff as fuel to get you even better.