Photo courtesy MSU Athletics
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The defensive linemen hailed as the gems of the draft class didn't disappoint during their on-field testing Sunday, and nobody performed better than Montez Sweat.
The 6-foot-6, 260-pounder from Mississippi State clocked a 4.41-second 40-yard dash at Lucas Oil Stadium, the fastest time by a defensive lineman since at least 2003.
That topped the mark of 4.43 seconds set by Emanuel Lawson in 2006.
He was faster than all but two of 23 running backs who ran the 40 at the NFL scouting combine this week, and he was 0.12 seconds faster than Jadeveon Clowney's time at the 2014 combine.
Sweat had 11 1/2 sacks and 14 tackles for loss last season after posting 10 1/2 sacks and 15 1/2 tackles for loss in 2017.
He said Saturday that he models his game after "old-time pass rushers like Jason Taylor," and when asked what would set him apart among this year's deep D-line class, Sweat said, "I think I would separate myself with my effort and my play. Just getting after the QB is what I do best."
Also Sunday, Alabama D-lineman Quinnen Williams ran a 4.83 40-yard dash. That's the fourth-fastest combine time by a 300-plus pound D-lineman since 2003.
His Tigers teammate, defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, sustained a minor thigh injury while running his 40 and didn't participate in the other drills. He is expected to work out at the Tigers' pro day later this month.
Lawrence is a 6-foot-4, 342-pound tackle who is a dominant run defender and scouts expect him to develop into a good pocket pusher in the passing game.