Montez Sweat and Others Master Combine Workouts but can they be NFL Stars?


((Montez Sweat/Screengrab))

How many NFL Defensive Lineman run 40-yard dashes from a sprinters start? Is it the difference between a star and a journeyman?? No....

If you were on Social Media or a Sports Website this weekend or if you follow the NFL, watching former Mississippi State Defensive Lineman Montez Sweat run a 4.41 second 40-yard dash was all anyone could talk about.

But. does this actually mean anything?

It's debatable. Sweat is a very good football player who played on a solid, but not spectacular College Football team at Mississippi State. He's 6-6, 252 lbs and in 2018 had 8.5 sacks and 50 tackles

He will be a First Round NFL Draft pick. No debate, no argument, no question.

But will he be successful? That's the big question mark. He doesn't appear to have any off-field issues but like Vic Beasley of the Atlanta Falcons and many others, he looks the part but is what you'd call a "Tweener". Kind of big to be a Linebacker and at 250 or so, arguably too small to be a lineman.

All that being said---he was taught how to sprint and do the other physical tests at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

He may be an NFL Star someday. But he hasn't played a single down against a grown man and much larger NFL Offensive Lineman yet.

Sweat may actually be a better bet than another football player who played his College ball in Mississippi, former Ole Miss WR D.K. Metcalf who also ran a crazy fast 40-yard dash and bench pressed 225 pounds 27 times and had a 40-inch vertical jump.

However, for all that flash---Metcalf showed a ton of muscle and alleged 1.6% body fat doesn't help you when you're doing quickness drills.

He bombed out with the short shuttle run and cone drills finishing slower than some Offensive Linemen and Quarterbacks.

What does that tell you?

It tells you in certain drills he is more impressive than similarly built and highly talented NFL WR's like Julio Jones and Calvin Johnson.

But unlike Johnson and Jones, Metcalf did not dominate in College. Sure he made some plays but in College, you can get by with superior physical skills. He caught 65 passes in two seasons and 12 TD's, mostly long passes where he just ran by people.

In the NFL, that doesn't work. If you can't cut, move, start, stop or fake out the person covering you, well, you then look like a giant block of fast moving granite. You become the 5-9, 170 lb wideout who runs exceptionally fast but, well, that's about it.

Listen, I'm not down on testing, drills or anything else. I'm not an NFL Scout. But I am a critic and general cynic who doesn't like or agree with relentless hype over meaningless things.

And at the end of the day, what Montez Sweat and D.K. Metcalf did this past weekend in Indianapolis along with a ton of others, is largely meaningless.

Hopefully all the kids there did well in their interviews and time spent with coaches and teams because really that is what the Combine SHOULD be about.

Every single athlete in Indianapolis the past few days will do most of this work all over again on their respective Pro Days along with better drills competing against an opponent.

Maybe I'm wrong---I wish these kids nothing but the best. But I've said it over and over and over again, stop promoting and hyping the Combine and how crazy good athletes test while doing drills.

There are very few players who will ever have to run 40-yards in a straight line without pads from a sprinters start. It might give you an idea a player is fast, but fast does not mean stardom. Fast does not equal success. It just means you are good at sprinting.

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