Sixth Round: 174th Pick
Everyone expected to see names like Marquise Goodwin and Tavon Austin atop the wide receiver 40 time results at the combine, but few predicted that Ryan Swope would post a 4.34, which tied Austin for second-best behind only Goodwin.
Part of the reason that Swope wasn't known for his speed is that Texas A&M didn't use him to stretch defenses most of the time.
What did they see in Swope that made them use him closer to the line of scrimmage?
Swope has a sturdy build and does a good job occupying soft spots in the defense on short, precise routes out of the slot. He understands how to alter his placement in the defense to get open and set up a defensive back for a double move to break free deep.
He is physical and not at all shy working the middle of the field. Swope is also a tremendous blocker and reliable hands catcher.
He's not going to make many tacklers miss after the catch and he doesn't quite play up to his timed speed. Breaks in routes and moves in the open field are not very sudden or explosive.
In general, Swope is not much of a threat after the catch and his profile is more possession receiver than playmaker despite his blazing 40 time.
Beyond his 4.34 40, Swope's 6'0", 205-pound frame is also an asset considering his home role as a slot receiver. He also posted a 37" vertical and 6.76 three-cone time, but Swope doesn't exhibit that kind of explosiveness or quickness on film.
His speed is apparent when he leaves safeties in the dust, but he has more build-up speed than instant acceleration.
Swope is considered a high-character player and he was able to make an excellent adjustment to new head coach Kevin Sumlin's offense in 2012. He has a high football IQ and appears to be an excellent teammate.
His history of multiple concussions may scare the NFL a bit considering what has happened to Austin Collie, who plays a similar role to Swope.
Swope has mainly been a slot receiver who runs short routes and wide receiver screens during his career.
He did adjust to a different offensive system and he has an excellent skill set for an offense with a running quarterback. He can adjust to a defense on the fly and loves to find a target to hit when his quarterback crosses the line of scrimmage.
Although he is accustomed to getting a clean release from the slot, Swope is fast, combative and strong enough to project as a solid outside receiver against press coverage. He doesn't eat up a cushion quite as quickly as his timed speed would suggest.
Swope hits his marks on time in the bread-and-butter short routes out of the slot and instinctively moves to the soft spots in soft coverage. There's good spring in his breaks with little hesitation. He understands how to sit down in space or drift in the direction that will bring him to his quarterback's attention.
Swope builds off of that short-route precision to set up double moves and he easily gets deep separation when the cornerback bites.
Swope has very good hands, despite the fact that they are 8 1/2", which is small for an NFL wide receiver. He can catch the ball well at full extension and provides a good-sized catch radius for his quarterback.
You will see Swope revert to body catching at times over the middle, but he is mostly a natural hands catcher.
As with most slot receivers, Swope is excellent at getting his head around quickly to locate the ball in flight. He is very smooth going up for balls over his head and his leap timing is impeccable. He is not afraid to go to full extension to make a catch with a defender bearing down on him to deliver a big hit.
Even though he primarily works the short routes, Swope is very good at high-pointing the ball and he has outside receiver body control in the air.
Run After Catch
His speed comes into play if he can catch a ball in stride or make the first tackler miss, but Swope is generally easy to tackle after the catch. He does have a stop/start move that he employs well, but he is not very sudden and more often than not gets tackled by the first defender he encounters.
Swope is a strong runner that requires a solid tackle attempt to bring down in the open field, but he still doesn't break many tackles.
He will cough up a fumble or two after the catch and needs to be a little better at protecting the ball immediately after the catch or while he's making a move.
You see Swope's background as a running back when it is time for him to engage with a defender as a blocker. He can plant his guy and seems to relish a chance to level an unaware defender trying to chase down his teammate. Swope sustains blocks well and is very aware of when it is time to block for his scrambling quarterback.
He is an accomplished cut blocker and also executes seal blocks on running plays with great effectiveness. Swope does lose some clashes, but he is still one of the best blocking wide receivers in this draft.
Scheme Versatility/Future Role
Swope is not strictly a Wes Welker slot receiver. He has the size to line up outside and should be used more on downfield routes in the pros.
His experience with Johnny Manziel makes him an excellent fit for a team with a running quarterback, but his overall blocking prowess will also make him appealing to a team with a more balanced offense.