04/30/2012 - Seattle general manager John Schneider said the team decided to draft North Carolina defensive tackle J.R. Sweezy and move him to offensive guard instead of drafting an offensive lineman in the seventh round because his athleticism is better than any offensive line prospect available at that spot. Seattle offensive line coach Tom Cable went down to North Carolina to work Sweezy out, and came away impressed. "You get to a point in the draft where there's a certain level of athleticism," Schneider said. "There's a little bit of a cut off all the way through it. And here's a guy that's a real tough, aggressive, quick defensive lineman who the staff at N.C. State would tell you out the door, 'Hey, this guy has a chance to be a really good offensive lineman, too." - The Sports Xchange
J.R. Sweezy was star linebacker in high school who had 195 tackles in 12 games as a senior, and was also a heavyweight wrestling champion.
Initially a DE at NC State, Sweezy switched to DT in 2009 and has been a force for the Wolfpack ever since, and played some LDE in 2011 as well against Georgia Tech's modern day wishbone offense. Missed the first four games of 2011 with a foot fracture. Stats were 26 tackles, 6.5 TFL, and 3 sacks in 2009, 50/11.5/5.5 in 2010, and 20/4/2 in 2011. Sweezy finished his NC State career with a dominant effort against Louisville in the Belk Bowl.
As an NFL Draft prospect, Sweezy is versatile enough for looks at 3-4 DE and even strong side 4-3 DE, but is best suited for a 4-3 DT in a one gap Tampa-2 type scheme where he attacks off the snap and pursues. Sweezy has a huge upper body with large and long features, allowing him to punch with the best. The lower body isn't as thick and hence there is some difficulty bending, staying bent, and turning. Good quickness off the snap and power allow Sweezy to make plays behind the LOS. Shockingly fast going straight, Sweezy is a sideline to sideline DT who makes a lot of plays in pursuit. While he may never be a great NFL pass rusher, Sweezy offers enough to succeed as a rotational DL in several different schemes, and does extremely well in the spy roll on pass plays.
Strengths: Good athlete, powerful, fast, quick off the snap, relentless, can hurdle blockers to make tackles. Has strong hands and can punch with power. Wrestling background clearly helps hand fighting skills. Can shed and pursue with surprising speed. Makes plays behind the LOS and in pursuit. Steady improvement, best effort was final game.
Weaknesses: Is slightly top heavy due to huge upper body. May have trouble anchoring at the next level. Does not turn or move well laterally. If initial move/punch fails, usually gets high and can't beat the block. Doesn't have a lot of pass rush moves.
NFL Comparison: Tyson Jackson - Kansas City Chiefs