In his second training camp as a professional player, the buzz around Eagles defensive end Josh Sweat has definitely been growing.
Sweat has grown right along with it.
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Sweat, a fourth-round pick last year, came into training camp weighing 265 pounds after putting on about 20 pounds this offseason. He is noticeably bigger and stronger as he prepares to fight for an increased role in the Eagles' defense this season.
In addition to working out a ton, Sweat also added some weight-gain supplements to his diet to put on pounds the right way. The most impressive thing is that he doesn't think he's sacrificed any of his speed since getting bigger. In fact, Sweat thinks it's gone the other way.
"I feel a whole lot more explosive than I was," he said. "I'm a lot stronger."
At the combine last year, Sweat weighed in at 251 pounds, which is still how he's listed on the Eagles' roster. The plan was always for him to put on more weight.
Sweat, 22, admitted he was "definitely disappointed" by his limited role in his rookie season. He played just 68 total defensive snaps before his season ended with a trip to the IR for an ankle injury. It wasn't how he planned out his first NFL season.
But there should be opportunity for Sweat in Year 2. After all, the Eagles traded away Michael Bennett and Chris Long retired. The top three spots in the defensive end rotation seem to be spoken for by Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett and Vinny Curry, but Sweat has a chance now to carve out a role for himself.
When asked about the team's expectations for him this season, Sweat replied he knows his expectations for himself:
I want to play. I feel like if I can play, I can show them exactly what I can do. Get more snaps. Just get that opportunity and I'll take off.
It seems his confidence is growing, too.
Sweat said the exits of Bennett and Long haven't really changed his outlook. He was going to try to earn playing time whether they were here or not. With them both off the team, there seems to be a clearer path now, but it'll be up to Sweat to earn snaps. Jim Schwartz said how much Sweat plays this year will come down to his performance in training camp and the preseason.
His teammates feel the buzz around Sweat, too.
"Oh yeah," Brandon Graham said. "A lot of people start separating themselves when the pads come on and then when the games come under the lights. We'll see where he's at. I'm excited for him."
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