Montez Sweat was on track to return to practice Wednesday, but he will see his absence extend into Week 14 and beyond. The young pass rusher tested positive for COVID-19, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.
The 2019 first-round pick is unvaccinated, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com adds (via Twitter). This means he must isolate for a 10-day period. While this would give Sweat a chance of returning for Washington’s Week 15 game against the Eagles, the odds of that happening are slimmer because of his unvaccinated status. Sweat remains on IR.
Washington has been without Sweat since Week 8. The first-string defensive end had been recovering from a fractured jaw. The team has won four straight games, doing so despite Sweat’s injury and Chase Young being done for the season. Sweat obviously would stand to help the 6-6 squad down the stretch, but his return will have to wait a bit.
A first-round Washington draftee, Sweat has registered four sacks this season and has 20 for his career. The Mississippi State product has forced two fumbles in each of his three seasons.
Montez Sweat will head to the IR after all. Washington Football Team placed the defensive end on injured reserve today, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter).
Sweat suffered a fractured jaw two weeks ago, and while he was fortunate to avoid surgery, a trip to the IR still seemed pretty likely. The 25-year-old was told by doctors to have “no physical contact for a month,” so it sounded like there was no shot he’d return before December. Now, the earliest he can see the field is December 5th against the Raiders.
The 2019 first-round pick has been a force since entering the NFL. After collecting 16 sacks through his first two seasons, Sweat compiled another four sacks in eight starts this year. The defensive end also has 19 tackles, two forced fumbles, 12 QB hits, and three tackles for loss.
Washington Football Team will be withoutMontez Sweat for at least a handful of games. The defensive end suffered a fractured jaw on Sunday, reports NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo (via Twitter). Grant Paulsen of The Athletic was first with the news (on Twitter).
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweets that Sweat’s fracture won’t require surgery, so it will just be a waiting game for the 25-year-old. However, Sweat has been told “no physical contact for a month,” so it’s unlikely we’ll see him back on the field before December.
The 2019 first-round pick has been a force since entering the NFL. After collecting 16 sacks through his first two seasons, Sweat compiled another four sacks in eight starts this season. The defensive end also has 19 tackles, two forced fumbles, 12 QB hits, and three tackles for loss.
Jay Gruden is currently unattached, with the Jaguars hiring Urban Meyer last month. Darrell Bevell is the team’s new offensive coordinator. Gruden, who coached Washington from 2014-19, remains interested in returning to the sidelines.
However, the longtime NFL play-caller does not expect to coach this season. Gruden, 53, said, with staffs having mostly filled up over the past few weeks, he will likely sit out in 2021 before reassessing his options, Ben Standig of The Athletic notes (subscription required).
Gruden made some noise recently when he made a candid remark about Washington owner Daniel Snyder‘s draft involvement. The six-year Washington HC indicated the team’s owner “would come in off his yacht and make the pick” after Washington’s coaching staff and front office prepared for the draft. Gruden expanded on that assessment.
“Well, first and foremost, he is the owner. So if he wants to come off his yacht, or if he wants to come off his tennis court, wherever he’s at and make a pick, he has that right,” Gruden said. “(Dan) has the ultimate say, and that’s not going to change until he decides he wants to change.
“So I guess he’s given up total responsibility and total power to coach (Ron) Rivera, which is a good thing, I think. But when I was there, that wasn’t the case. He had final say over everything. He and (former team president) Bruce Allen would talk about it, and they would make the decision. I signed up for that. I knew that was the case going in, and that’s just the way it was.”
Like Gruden, Allen is no longer with the franchise. Snyder dismissed the 10-year team president after the 2019 season. But the Snyder-Allen-Gruden power trio was in place for nearly six seasons. The last of those, a 3-13 season that involved Gruden being fired after an 0-5 start, transpired after a controversial draft.
It has been long reported Gruden was against drafting Dwayne Haskins, a Snyder- and Allen-driven move. Gruden said one of the team’s plans involved taking Montez Sweat at No. 15; Washington later traded back into Round 1 and drafted the edge defender at No. 26. Gruden also mentioned being high on safety Darnell Savage, whom the Packers drafted at No. 21 overall.
“We knew we needed a quarterback, though. I mean, so at the end of the day, it’s not like Dwayne was not a good prospect. He’s a young football player with a lot of talent. So it’s not the end of the world we took Dwayne,” Gruden said, via Standig. “We just didn’t think we had to take him that high. It’s just what we thought … if we lost Dwayne that there were a couple of other ones later we might be able to get to come in and maybe compete with Case. Plus there was still hope in the back of our minds that Alex would come back.”
Coming off a 50-touchdown pass 2018 season at Ohio State, Haskins was viewed as a surefire first-round pick. The Giants were connected to him at No. 6 overall, though they surprised most by drafting Daniel Jones. Haskins fell to No. 15, becoming the third quarterback off the 2019 board. Some in Washington’s organization were believed to have placed a third-round grade on the quarterback.
Gruden said during the interview Haskins “wasn’t quite ready” when a Case Keenum injury first summoned him into action in Week 4 of the ’19 season. The organization quickly soured on the quarterback, benching him early in the 2020 season and putting him on the trade block. The Rivera-led regime waived Haskins in December of last year.
Snyder overruled Washington football-side brass on other occasions, Gruden said. Washington now has Rivera, Martin Mayhew and Marty Hurney atop running football ops.
“For the most part, I’d say 85-90% of the time, we were making pretty much football decisions that were good for the football team, and they were (decisions) that everybody agreed on. … The majority,” Gruden said. “But there were a few picks (during my time) that we had nothing to do with it.”
The currently unattached coach also discussed Kirk Cousins‘ exit. The Allen-led Cousins negotiations led to animosity, two franchise tags and the quarterback’s departure in free agency in 2018. Rather than a trade haul, Washington only received a third-round compensatory pick for its four-year QB starter.
“For the most part, I was given every opportunity to succeed there. We just didn’t get it done,” Gruden said. “There are some decisions there that I wish we could have had back. Obviously, we should have gotten more for Kirk Cousins. That’s the biggest thing, that I think we should have got more for Kirk Cousins than a third-round pick.”
The Redskins stood pat at No. 15 and came away with Haskins, who was widely regarded as one of the two best QBs in the draft. After that, they moved back into the first round to snag Sweat at No. 26. Both players could prove to be incredible values – Sweat was pegged as a top 10 choice before a misdiagnosed heart condition hurt his stock. Then, just before the draft, doctors caught the error and OK’d him and his “normal heart” to play football.
Sweat finished his two-year Bulldogs career with 22.5 sacks and 30 tackles for loss. He spent his first two collegiate campaigns at Michigan State, where he did not see a whole lot of playing time. In 2019, head coach Jay Gruden says that he expects to use Sweat frequently.
The Redskins now have another selection in the first round. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that Washington has acquired pick No. 26 from the Colts. The Redskins will send No. 46 and a 2020 second-rounder to Indy, according to ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter).
The Redskins have used their new selection on Mississippi State defensive end Montez Sweat. There were conflicting reports about the lineman’s draft stock following news about an apparent heart condition. There were rumblings that some teams removed Sweat entirely from their draft board, with some teams’ doctors noting that there isn’t an example of a player dealing with this issue in the current NFL. However, we learned yesterday that teams now believe thatSweat’s heart condition was misdiagnosed at the combine, further complicating his draft stock.
Either way, Sweat is clearly one of the most talented edge defenders in the draft. His unique combination of size and speed make him a menace on the outside, and he should continue to develop as a running-game disruptor. Despite the heart condition, Sweat managed to appear in 26 games over his final two seasons with the Bulldogs, compiling 22.5 sacks over that span. His known visits were with the Texans, Bengals, 49ers, Bills, Raiders, Packers and Buccaneers.
The Redskins have invested plenty of draft capital into their defensive line in recent years, as they selected defensive end JonathanAllen in 2017 and defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne in 2018. Sweat should join the two players to form a formidable front-three.
The Redskins made headlines earlier tonight when they selected Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins with the No. 15 pick.
Some assorted notes from SI.com’s Albert Breer leading up to tonight’s draft…
The Jets are beginning to gain some traction on a deal involving the third-overall pick. Breer mentions that the Redskins could be a match, with the team presumably eyeing a quarterback. Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins could be an option, as could Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray (if he isn’t taken with the first-overall pick). Breer notes that if the Jets remain in the top-10, they could opt for Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver, who one scout described as “the epitome of a [defensive coordinator] GreggWilliams player.”
Missouri quarterback Drew Lock is “rising continuously in draft meetings” among the Broncos front office. The team could be eyeing him with pick No. 10, or they could be preparing for a scenario where Lock falls towards the bottom of the first round.
Two players who are set to play on their fifth-year option are on the block. Breer writes that Eagles receiver NelsonAgholor and 49ers defensive end ArikArmstead “have been part of trade discussions.” On the flip side, Breer believes that it’s unlikely that the 49ers trade defensive lineman SolomonThomas.
If Mississippi State’s Montez Sweat gets past the Redskins (No. 15), Panthers (No. 16), or Seahawks (No.21), Breer is unsure how far the defensive end could end up falling. Breer points to the Rams as a potential fit at the end of the first round. Reports indicated that Sweat was diagnosed with a heart condition, although there were rumblings today that he may have been misdiagnosed.
Well, this is interesting. Teams now believe that Montez Sweat‘s heart condition was misdiagnosed at the combine, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Follow-up tests on the Mississippi State defensive lineman revealed no risk to the player, which is phenomenal news for Sweat’s health and football future alike.
Sweat was initially flagged for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which causes a thickening of artery walls. As a result, some teams to removed him from the draft board completely. Now, two sources say the situation is not nearly as dire as once thought.
Two sources tell RapSheet that the thickness of Sweat’s heart wall is actually 1.5 centimeters, not ~2.0, which makes for a much lower risk of problems. If Sweat’s wellbeing is not in danger, his stock could be restored just in time for Thursday night’s draft.
Sweat was previously listed among the 23 attendees for the NFL Draft’s green room, an indication that he was in the first round mix. Sweat changed his plans after the medical tests scared teams away, but it sounds like he could be in line to receive some good news tonight when he’s watching the telecast from elsewhere.
Sweat finished his two-year Bulldogs career with 22.5 sacks and 30 tackles for loss. He spent his first two collegiate campaigns at Michigan State, where he did not see a whole lot of playing time.
While the Giants may be zeroing in onDwayne Haskins, they have also done work on possible second-round quarterbacks Will Grier and Jarrett Stidham — in the event Gettleman would dare push his post-Eli Manning QB need to 2020 and prioritize pass rushers early. He has said he would not view a non-first-round pick as a legitimate long-term quarterback solution.
Here is the latest from the draft world, courtesy of the veteran reporter:
Adding some intrigue to the Cardinals‘ situation: they believe Bosa is a generational prospect. While King still has them selecting Kyler Murray at No. 1, the report they are not totally committed to this yet — despite just about everything we’ve heard in recent weeks — is a bit more interesting. Bosa visited the Cardinals earlier this month and would obviously fill the team’s need opposite Chandler Jones.
While defensive line and linebacker prospects figure to populate the ESPN ticker early in Thursday night’s draft, secondary pieces may not come off the board until the second part of the opening round. One of the teams in need of cornerback help may have a preference. Mike Tomlin “loves” Temple’s Rock Ya-Sin, King writes. The Steelers have a linebacker need too but did sign Mark Barron to pair with Vince Williams. Their 2016 first-round investment of Artie Burns has not paid off, so Pittsburgh’s No. 20 spot may well be a cornerback destination. Ya-Sin, who played at Presbyterian (S.C.) prior to playing one season at Temple, visited the Steelers this month.
Brian Burns‘ stock has risen recently, and King mocks the Florida State product to the Bengals at No. 11. Burns ran a 4.53-second 40-yard dash at the Combine and is one of many high-caliber front-seven players available.
Another member of that group’s fortune has not been as kind. Montez Sweatwill not attend the draft. Some teams have taken the Mississippi State product off their draft boards, and it is now possible he falls out of the first round. Reportedly diagnosed with an enlarged heart, Sweat may have some teams willing to take a chance on him early. One GM told King that Sweat will have an issue with his heart going forward, but if it’s closely monitored, the talented defender can have a career. That would be a boon for someone’s defense, with Sweat blazing to a 4.41-second 40 at the Combine and combining for 23 sacks between the 2017-18 seasons. Another GM informed King he believes Sweat’s upside is higher than Bosa’s, adding further intrigue to this situation.