Eagles Film Room: How Jim Schwartz can turn Josh Sweat into an elite defensive end


Josh Sweat was one of the biggest defensive ends in his class, both by name and frame. The FSU star saw his stock plummet due to what was conceived to be injury related concerns, but why did the Eagles take a chance on him in the fourth round? When you look at the tape, the stars almost perfectly align for Sweat and a role in the ruthless Jim Schwartz pass-rush.

At 6’5, 251 lbs, Sweat is a dominant athlete, but at FSU he was used in a way that didn’t highlight his strengths. Used just inside the shoulder of the offensive tackle and expected to use a four-point stance, Sweat was never a devoted pass-rusher, nor a devoted run-stopper. This in turn, somewhat stagnated his production although as the above video shows, he was able to do more than enough to turn heads.

“I mean that is part of the reason I left; I’m ready for something like that.” Sweat said on a conference call after being drafted by the Eagles. “I need to get on the edge because that’s what I do best. I’m fast, I can bend and I’m strong. That’s when I can showcase my talent.”

With every curse comes a blessing and this does mean that Sweat is versatile enough to play both inside and outside and do so efficiently. It’s the same kind of role that the Birds’ envisioned veteran Pro-Bowler, Michael Bennett, to take on prior to his arrest earlier this year. It’s unclear whether or not Bennett will be returning to the field for a first season in Philadelphia, but if this was a role that the Eagles wanted to build on in their defense, the selection makes sense.

Derek Barnett was drafted to learn under the likes of Brandon Graham and Sweat would benefit from someone as accomplished as Michael Bennett, as well as the flurry of defensive ends already on the roster. After breaking down the film, it’s safe to say that while raw, the skillset Sweat possesses is not only coachable, but one that invokes superstar potential.