Josh Norman on how Montez Sweat compares to Julius Peppers

Ben Krimmel
July 27, 2019 - 3:09 pm

Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman may not be ready to make the direct comparison, but he isn't shying away from it either.

When asked how much does Redskins first-round draft pick Montez Sweat compare athletically with future Hall of Famer Julius Peppers, Norman said it is close.

"He's up there," Norman told 106.7 The Fan's Craig Hoffman at training camp this week.

"Like as far as size-wise and length, yeah man. I just, I gotta see more of him, man," Norman added. "I really (don't) like to make that comparison, because this guy, Pep, you gotta understand, man, he's a mammoth of a man."

Norman isn't the first member of the Redskins defense to make this comparison based on size as during this offseason Ryan Kerrigan made a Sweat - Peppers connection.

"The one person that kind of came to mind, and this isn't a playing thing, but Julius Peppers," Kerrigan told ESPN's John Keim. "I remember meeting Julius Peppers and just seeing how big he was in person, I'm like, 'Oh my gosh, that dude is big.'

"That was kind of my first impression of (Sweat) in terms of size. But then to know how fast and athletic he is too, it's pretty remarkable. One thing that I respect about him too is that he has the production to match."

At the NFL combine, Sweat put up ridiculous numbers: a 4.41 40-yard dash (the fastest by a defensive lineman since 2003), 36-inch vertical leap, 125 inches on the broad jump, and 21 reps of 225 on the bench press. All done at 6 feet 6 inches tall and weighing 260 pounds. 

"The thing is though, (Peppers) was Montez Sweat when he was a rookie," Norman said. "Montez, he's gonna get bigger, like wider. Like Pep wide now, if you see him as the years went on he got wider. So you know the height is all there, his length."

At the 2002 combine, Peppers measured six feet six inches tall and 283 pounds and ran a 4.74 40-yard dash before Carolina made him the second overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft. Peppers has gone on to record 159.5 career sacks and force 52 fumbles during his 17-year career, which may be why Norman was hesitant to make a direct comparison.

However, Norman still left the door open.

"I'm very interested in seeing what (Sweat is) going to do because has the ceiling to do it. It's just if you wanna put in the work to be it," Norman said.

Earlier in the interview when asked by Hoffman about grabbing more interceptions, Norman said while he can't make the quarterback throw the football in his direction he can do better on the "layups" that come his way. 

"I can only do what's given to me or presented to me," Norman told 106.7 The Fan. "For me, it's just, when an opportunity presents itself just capture those moments."

"It seems like the easy ones are the ones that I always seem to drop for some reason. But the hard ones I just make those catches," he said.

Norman added he wants to "literally just be a force on the run game."  

"Everything else will take care of itself because I feel like I got great defensive linemen, now we got some safeties, and we got some (line)backers that will fly around and play with us a little bit," Norman said.

Norman pointed to third-year man Jonathan Allen as the key to the defensive line and a key to tying the Skins defense together. 

"Jonathan Allen has to step up and lead those guys, be the leader in that room," Norman said. "I just love watching them play, because I know that they're gonna give me the opportunity and chance to break on the football because it gotta come out hot. And that's where we live, that's where we play our game." 

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