Texas A&M wide receiver Ryan Swope.
After taking scouts by complete surprise with a blazing fast 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, Texas A&M wide receiver Ryan Swope has become one of the most intriguing prospects in this year's draft class. He is a former track athlete who could have a bright future as a professional pass-catcher.
Although Swope's athleticism is not immediately apparent on film, he is a very sound receiver and possibly one of the most complete receivers in the 2013 draft.
This article will highlight five things you need to know about Swope.
Full Name: Ryan Swope
Birthday: Sept. 20, 1990 (Age 22)
Hometown: Austin, Texas
High School: Westlake High School
Major: University Studies
Swope (6’0”, 205 lbs.) went to Westlake High School in Austin, Texas, before taking his talent to College Station to play for the Aggies. He contributed on offense, defense and special teams while at Westlake, earning All-State honors as both a running back and a kick returner during his senior season. Swope also ran track in high school, setting impressive times in both the 100-meter (10.7 seconds) and 200-meter dashes (21.93 seconds).
Swope first took the field with Texas A&M in 2009 as a true freshman, playing in every game except for the season opener. He played his fourth and final season with the Aggies in 2012 as a senior. From 2009-2012, Swope appeared in 51 games, including bowl games. Swope was most productive during his junior year, eclipsing 1,000 yards receiving and scoring double-digit touchdowns.
Swope majored in university studies with an emphasis on agriculture and life sciences.
2009: 12 games, 19 catches, 172 yards, 1 TD, 9.1 YPC
2010: 13 games, 72 catches, 825 yards, 4 TDs, 11.5 YPC
2011: 13 games, 89 catches, 1,207 yards, 11 TDs, 13.6 YPC
2012: 13 games, 72 catches, 913 yards, 8 TDs, 12.7 YPC
As a true freshman in 2009, Swope played primarily special teams, but he also saw playing time as a reserve wideout. That season, Swope finished with just 19 catches for 172 yards and a single touchdown.
In his sophomore season, Swope’s role expanded greatly, allowing him to reel in a school-record 72 passes for 825 yards and four touchdowns. He only had three 100-yard performances in 2010, but he caught three or more passes in every game except for two. In the AT&T Cotton Bowl, Swope caught five passes for 45 yards.
As a junior in 2011, Swope’s statistics ballooned even further, as he collected 89 grabs for 1,207 yards and 11 touchdowns. Against Baylor, Swope caught four touchdown passes (a career high) and broke 200 yards receiving on 11 completions. Against Northwestern in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, he caught eight passes for 105 yards in a 33-22 win.
In 2012, Swope’s final season at Texas A&M, his statistics dipped slightly, matching his sophomore season mark of 72 catches, while also adding 913 yards and eight touchdowns. He delivered for the Aggies in a 41-13 win over Oklahoma in the AT&T Cotton Bowl, catching eight passes for 104 yards and a touchdown.
Swope averaged more than 10 yards per catch in each of his final three seasons at Texas A&M. That number peaked during his junior year, when he averaged 13.6 yards per catch.
Weight: 205 lbs.
Arm Length: 31 3/8"
Hand Size: 8 1/2"
40-yard dash: 4.34 sec.
Broad jump: 125"
Vertical jump: 37"
Swope, a former track athlete, had a very successful showing at the NFL Scouting Combine, recording a 40-yard dash time of 4.34 seconds, which was tied for the second-fastest time among participating wide receivers.
Swope consistently measured within the top 10 wide receivers, with his best marks coming in the vertical jump (37 inches, tied for fifth best) and three cone drill (6.76 seconds, sixth best). Swope also performed respectably in the bench press (16 repetitions, tied eighth best) and broad jump (125 inches, tied for seventh best).
In fact, the only event in which Swope did not excel was the 20-yard shuttle run, where he recorded a time of 4.25 seconds (14th best).
Swope was consistent during the Texas A&M pro day, according to Lance Zierlein of National Football Post. He showcased reliable hands and athletic ability to back up the impressive numbers he put up at the combine.
Many experts see Swope as a mid-round prospect (third or fourth round). But after a successful combine and pro day, he could go as early as the second round.
Swope had an incredible college career in which he set the Texas A&M all-time record for career receptions (252). Despite extremely productive sophomore, junior and senior seasons, Swope was not given the credit he deserved.
He was overlooked, for the most part, as a participant in the Senior Bowl. It wasn’t until he ran a sub-4.4 40-yard dash in Indianapolis that the Aggies receiver started garnering some long overdue attention.
Swope believes that he might have caught some scouts off-guard because of his skin color. “I think a lot of people were pretty shocked. You don’t see that every day, a white guy running a 4.3,” Swope said on the Dan Patrick Show (via Pro Football Talk).
Swope was a second-team All-Big 12 selection following his junior year. Even with a switch at quarterback (Ryan Tannehill to Johnny Manziel) and in conference (Big 12 to SEC), Swope still managed to nab a spot on the second-team All-SEC squad following his senior season.
On film, Swope’s athleticism does not jump off the screen. He does not appear to have elite breakaway speed, although his impressive 40 time leads one to believe that he does. At the 7:45 mark, several Mississippi State defenders catch Swope on a play that, at first, appears as if he will take the distance.
Swope is lined up almost exclusively in the slot, usually in a three- or four-wide receiver set. He has great versatility and precision in his route running, whether it is short, long or intermediate. He shows great footwork and soft hands on his first-down catch at the 8:40 mark.
Swope comes across as a hard-nosed receiver who is aggressive and willing to block downfield. Look at the lick he puts on a Mississippi State defender at the 7:20 mark, springing Manziel for a long run down the right sideline.
With the ball in his hands, Swope is almost always a north-south runner; he doesn’t waste time trying to make a man miss. He shows an excellent nose for the end zone during both of his scores against Auburn (0:35 and 1:41).