The Philadelphia Eagles might have something here. Let’s compare Sweat to Barnett.
In 2019, Derek Barnett Barnett played 695 defensive snaps and registered a mere 30 tackles (ten for loss). Add that to 26 quarterback pressures, 22 quarterback hits, 6.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles. Sure, he still outperformed Sweat, but he hasn’t exactly progressed as we all expected. He also had injury issues in 2018.
Had Sweat played the same amount of snaps as Barnett, he was on pace to register 41.5 tackles (14 for loss), 30 quarterback pressures, 20 quarterback hits, and eight sacks. That’s not too far off from Brandon Graham’s numbers: 50 tackles (15 for a loss), 30 quarterback pressures, 17 quarterback hits, and 8.5 sacks. Let’s not forget that Sweat also received a 63.7 grade from Pro Football Focus compared to Barnett’s overall grade of 59.2.
Sweat made a major leap in both production and development in his second season whereas Barnett has had three seasons and isn’t panning out, and knowing that Sweat went from barely seeing the field to producing at nearly the same rate as Barnett while just being a role player is very telling. One more year under this coaching staff might be all that Sweat needs to come into his own, and there’s no reason to believe that he can’t.
If Barnett has a lackluster start, he could be looking over his shoulder early. Sweat could be given more opportunities and move into a larger role, especially since he has an advantage in terms of athleticism and measurables. Barnett’s fifth-year option was exercised, so he’ll be around through 2021, but Philly would be wise to see what Sweat can do when given more snaps. Don’t be surprised if and when he becomes a key playmaker in Schwartz’s defense.