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Ryan Swope: Combine Speedster One of NFL Draft's Biggest Sleepers

COLLEGE STATION, TX - NOVEMBER 24:  Ryan Swope #25 of Texas A&M Aggies runs with the ball during the game against the Missouri Tigers at Kyle Field on November 24, 2012 in College Station, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Jesse ReedCorrespondent IFebruary 24, 2013

Ryan Swope posted a blazing-fast 40-yard dash time at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine, but he's more than just a speedy receiver.

This impressive time gave Swope the second-fastest official time of any receiver in this year's draft class—a phenomenal feat considering he tied Tavon Austin and blew past Denard Robinson—two of the most impressive athletes in this class.

A former running back, Swope brings a versatile skill set to the NFL. He has a chance to become a Wes Welker-type slot receiver if given the chance with an offense that understands how to take advantage of his game.

Swope was Ryan Tannehill's favorite target in 2011, catching 89 passes for 1,207 yards and 11 touchdowns—the greatest single-season performance by any receiver in Texas A&M's history. He followed it up with another impressive season in 2012, catching 72 passes for 913 yards and eight touchdowns for Johnny Manziel.

Before the combine, NFL.com's scouting report read like this in the "Weaknesses" department:

His height, straight-line speed and acceleration are only average, limiting him to a slot or number three receiver role at the next level. Doesn’t have the elite athleticism to elude NFL-caliber defenders in space, and his strength is not enough to run through pro linebackers and defensive backs in the second level.

Well, you can throw that first part right out the window. Swope's speed is far from average, and while he isn't an elite athlete on par with Cordarrelle Patterson, he makes up for it in other ways.

The best part of Swope's game is that he isn't just a straight-line speed guy. He is quick and efficient in and out of his breaks, meaning he will be really dangerous on double moves and as a zone-read slot receiver.

Additionally, he possesses excellent hands, and his 206-pound frame is strong enough to handle the beatings he'll surely take in the middle of the field in the NFL. And as the league moves more and more to three wide receiver sets, guys like Swope are becoming more and more valuable.

Swope isn't going to be a No. 1 receiver at the next level, and you shouldn't expect him to be drafted in the first couple of rounds.

But if your favorite team drafts him in Round 3 or beyond, you should be jumping for joy knowing he has the potential to become one of the most productive receivers in this year's draft class.

 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78 

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