Since Howie Roseman took over as General Manager in 2010, he has selected nine developmental defensive ends (4th-7th round). After swinging and missing on Ricky Sapp, Joe Kruger, David King, Taylor Hart, Brian Mihalik, Alex McCalister, and Shareef Miller (the jury is still out on Casey Toohill), Roseman may have finally found a diamond in the rough in Josh Sweat.
With Derek Barnett out on Sunday, Josh Sweat was pressed into playing a starting role opposite Brandon Graham. Sweat played a career-high 49 snaps, and he played extremely well in his first extended action.
He was the 2nd-highest graded pass rusher of Week 1 according to PFF, ranking even higher than Aaron Donald (who had a massive game against the Dallas Cowboys).
Sweat was quick on his feet Sunday, as he had the fastest sack (2.3 seconds) in Week 1 according to NextGen Stats.
Here's another look at his quick strip-sack on Dwayne Haskins.
In total, Sweat finished Week 1 with three tackles, two QB hits, one sack, and one forced fumble. Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz praised Sweat in his press conference on Tuesday, saying:
“He's one of our most improved players. He's always had a lot of ability, but like a lot of other players, he just needed to refine his game a little bit more. I think he's going to be a big contributor for us this year”
At just 23 years old, Sweat's best days are still ahead of him, and if he continues playing like he did on Sunday, he will play himself into the lineup and force Derek Barnett to share some of his snaps.