In the sixth round, with the 174th pick in the draft, the Arizona Cardinals selected wide receiver Ryan Swope, out of Texas A&M. Swope, listed at 6’0” and 205 pounds. He adds tremendous speed at wideout position with the Cardinals and much desired for Bruce Arians system. In fact, before the draft Arians stated his desires for a WR with 4.2 type of speed to stretch the field. Ryan Swope opened many eyes at the NFL Scouting combine in Indianapolis before the draft with a stunning 4.34 40-yard dash time, which tied Tavon Austin for the second-fastest wide receiver time at the combine.
Swope was an All-State selection as a senior running back out of West Lake High School in Austin, TX. During his senior season he had 27 TD’s and 1,826 yards rushing and 21 receptions for 443 yards. As a true freshman for the Texas A& M Aggies, by the end of the year he became a regular on the field as a reserve receiver, compiling 19 receptions and one touchdown. As just a sophomore (2010) Swope set, at that time, Aggie record, with 72 receptions for 825 yards and four touchdowns.
As a junior (2011), he became a second-team All-Big 12 pick by league coaches and finished in the top 20 nationally and set school records in receptions (89) and receiving yards (1,207) while grabbing 11 TD’s from former top ten pick (in 2012) Ryan Tannehill, now with the Miami Dolphins. His most memorable performance that year was against Baylor, when he compiled 206 yards receiving and scored 4 times (another Aggie record), along with 11 catches.
During his senior season, with Tannehill gone, there was concern by many pundits about his production. Although, luckily for Swope, there was help to the rescue, by the name of Johnny (football) Manziel. To say that Johnny Football rose to the occasions would probably be a huge understatement. Johnny Football proved to be more than capable, en route to the Heisman Trophy. In fact, this was the first Heisman trophy ever given to a freshman. Swope’s production was not quite the same as the previous year, although he managed to grab 72 receptions for 913 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Swope has very good foot quickness, great route running ability and very good (strong) hands, as well as exceptional flexibility. Has good thickness and very good lower body strength from his running back days in High School. Because of his route running ability and foot quickness, he knows how to separate from receivers, which should translate into a perfect fit in the slot (receiver) in the NFL. Swope also knows how to slow down in passing windows and find room in zones to maximize his quarterback’s abilities to find him. Because of his experience as a running back and his great foot quickness to side step would be blockers, Swope should be good coming out of the backfield on quick (bubble) screens. Finally, he gives great effort blocking downfield and near the line of scrimmage.
So now the question is, how will Ryan Swope project to the next level (NFL) and more specifically to the Arizona Cardinals? Stated previously, head coach Bruce Arians mentioned in a previous interview, his desire for a wide-out with 4.2-type of speed to help stretch the field. Lucky for Arians, Swope fell in his lap in the sixth round of the recent NFL draft, which seems to match his desire for just that type of speed.
With all-world pass-catcher Larry Fitzgerald and last year’s first round pick out of Notre Dame, Michael Floyd (assumed) on the outside, Swope figures to project in the slot with Andre Roberts in three and four-wideout sets. With Swope’s speed and quickness it seems to be a perfect fit for the slot receiver position in Arians offense. With that in mind, this will likely help minimize double and triple coverage on Fitzgerald.
Swope was projected by many draft experts to be a second or third round selection, but he had a couple past minor concussion concerns that possibly caused him to fall to the 6th round. In my opinion, after reviewing the tape and studying his background, I am convinced that because of his great character, toughness and of course his ability, he was an absolute steal for the Cardinals to get him in the 6th round. Furthermore, in my opinion, it is not just by coincidence that Ryan Swope became both Ryan Tannehill and Johnny Manziel’s favorite target.
Cardinals fans should be excited about this draft pick. I will give the Cardinals a solid A for this selection.