Travis Swanson NFL Draft 2014: Highlights, Scouting Report for Lions C

Alex Dunlap@AlexDunlapNFLContributor IMarch 24, 2014

Arkansas center Travis Swanson plays during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against South Carolina in Fayetteville, Ark., Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
Danny Johnston/Associated Press

Travis Swanson, C, Arkansas (HT: 6'5"; WT: 312 lbs.)

Detroit Lions

Third Round: 76th Pick



NFL Comparison: Travis Frederick, C, Dallas Cowboys

Combine Weigh In
605031233 1/8"10"
Combine Workout
40-Yard Dash10-Yard SplitBenchVertBroad3-ConeShuttle



  • Widely considered one of the SEC's best offensive linemen by the media through the 2013 season.
  • Started against quality competition week in and week out for four years at the college level.
  • Big, tall and long center prospect. 
  • Longer arms than he's given credit for; boasted a 79-plus-inch wingspan at the Senior Bowl, per RosterWatch (free sign-up required).
  • Has shown the ability to set into his drop steps and keep his head on a swivel to pick up defenders stunting inside; showed this off well in 2013 versus Alabama. 
  • Appeared to be the ringleader in making line calls and communicating responsibilities to teammates. 
  • Smart prospect with a good motor who appears to play tough football on every snap. 
  • Uses length of arms to create a significant A-gap barrier on his uncovered side while giving help to covered guards in pass protection. 
  • Looked almost as much like a tackle as a center at the Senior Bowl weigh-in. 
  • Good feet, agility and balance in small space. 
  • Operates at a high level when getting his hands on the opposition for any sustained period. 
  • Proven asset in pulling assignments; very quick lateral step and explosion out of stance. 
  • Very solid overall lateral agility and flexibility through the hips to redirect. 
  • Operates efficiently through long spells of games, rarely registering a blip on the radar while adequately handling assignments.
  • Impressive athleticism in movements for such a large man; shows flashes of amazing potential. 
  • Clearly loves finishing plays when in position and demoralizing the opposition—a mean-spirited player.
  • Seals, slides and sets with excellent technique.
  • Appears to be a player very focused on fundamentals and sticking to the practice script of his position coach in game situations. 



  • Much more substantial and powerful through the lower body than the upper body; appears "pear shaped."
  • Lacks substantial power and struggles to get head-up defenders off their spots in the run game. 
  • Can lose leverage when becoming sloppy with pad level and becoming top-heavy. 
  • Struggles badly to stick on second-level blocks when engaging athletic linebackers.
  • Lacks above-average leg drive.
  • Does not possess significant upper-body power. 
  • Had the worst bench press numbers of all offensive linemen at the combine, putting up a very disappointing 20 reps.
  • Third-worst broad jump and 13th-worst vertical among all offensive linemen in Indy. 
  • Extremely disappointing Senior Bowl week, as very few of the great traits showed on film shined though. 
  • Appeared very average as a prospect when stacked against other Senior Bowl offensive line participants in both the power and agility categories. 
  • Great motor lacks explosion; rarely appears absolutely dominant as a mauler. 
  • A good ability to "recover" from balance issues is slightly overshadowed by the fact that he often finds himself off-balance. 


Personal Notes (via Arkansas Athletic Department

  • Born Jan. 30, 1991.
  • He is the son of Todd and Gina Swanson. 
  • He is majoring in sociology. 
  • He was named to the Razorback Honor Roll for his work in the classroom in the fall of 2011.

Ratings Chart

Grades by Alex Dunlap



Swanson is another line prospect evaluators will struggle to reconcile. On evaluation of his tape, most will notice that Swanson was the bedrock of an Arkansas line that faced off against the best defensive line prospects college football has to offer in the SEC for four years.

On tape, Swanson shows great functional agility and good quickness. He also shows at least adequate power and strength at most times. His disappointing combine and Senior Bowl performances may leave a bit of a mark on his draft stock, however. At a time when evaluators are looking to "check boxes," as NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock would say, Swanson has instead created red flags. 

Swanson has the height, length, motor, smarts and instincts scouts are sure to love. However, the NFL team that drafts Swanson will do so knowing that he is not a player who will come in guaranteed to crack the starting roster or even contribute significantly early on. With development of strength through his upper body and core—and a continued emphasis on fundamentals— evaluators should feel justified in projecting eventual impact, though. 


Draft Projection: Third-Fourth Round


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