May 14, 2013; Tempe, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Ryan Swope (19) catches the ball during organized team activities at the Cardinals Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Swope: How Will He Be Affected By His Concussions?


When the sixth round of the draft comes around, most people are looking for diamonds in the rough. In the case of the Arizona Cardinals, they selected Ryan Swope hoping he would be a gem.

However, in all cases of precious stones the hope is to show them off to the world and shine bright and so far that has not been the case of Swope.  With the search for the next great slot receiver, the Cardinals selected him despite red flags about his health.

I know I said health, but to be more specific his history of concussions, which has now become just as threatening to an NFL players career as a torn ACL or Achilles tear, a concussion can cost a player games during the season due to the new rules the NFL has adopted over the last several years.

The policy in short states that a player has to not only pass a concussion test during the game before even thinking of returning. Add to that the loss of games if that player is unable to pass concurrent tests before returning to the field.

In Swope’s case, he has yet to play a NFL game and already his career is in question.  Coming out of Texas A&M he had four concussions and since being drafted has missed a considerable amount of time on the practice field. A rookies most important time of their first year is during practice both mandatory practices and voluntary and determines if they see the field or not. Missing vital time building a rapport with new Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer does not bode well either, as other receivers are picked up and get reps that he was expected to have.

At Austins Westlake he was a star high school running back and he also set an A&M record for receptions in 2010.  Even more impressive, he ran a remarkable 4.34 40-yard dash.

He even has that chip on his shoulder you want to see in a player saying “People were pretty shocked seeing a white guy run a 4.3”. Comparisons to Jordy Nelson, Wes Welker are not bad so there is anticipation that he can assume a role next to Larry Fitzgerald.

These are all things I believe coach Bruce Arians took into consideration when selecting him and still believe as he has been heard stating that “He would be fine.” I do agree that the Cardinals are taking the safe approach with him and for good reason. The NFL is now taking that hard stance on player safety as they should because the players are the ones having to deal with an physical repercussions later in life.

Some believed he could have been drafted earlier, but there was concern about his health and future hits that would come with a more punishing professional game.

There is hope because he is not hurt and precaution never hurt anyone, but to be over cautious may be costly to the Cardinals this year. Having Larry Fitzgerald speak to his health is also a vote to caution due to the fact that he was the only receiver taken in the draft and Larry wants to get his hands on him the same way he did with Michael Floyd.

There is going to be a collective sigh when Swope takes his hits but it will be a lot louder sigh by Cardinals coaching and brass upstairs.

Tags: Arizona Cardinals Ryan Swope

  • Bill Doerr

    This guy was a beast at Texas A&M. His athletic ability is comparable to Fitzgeralds , the way he jumps up and over people to get the ball, contorting his body in unnatural ways in the name of wining. His style of play are partly why he had thos concussions. He was a lock for a low 2nd round draft pick , but the injurys hurt his stock. Still Wes Welker had concussions in college , coming into the league with concussions issues and he is now one of the league best slot receivers , Ryan Swope is a bigger faster version of welker at 6ft 205 pounds with 4.3 speed and excellent hands.
    At Texas A&M he set records in Touchdowns , Receptions, & Reception yards and is A&Ms all time leading WR. He was Manziels and Tannehills (before being drafted to MIA) go to WR. He tied with the STL Rams Tavon Austin , both running the 2nd fastest combine 40 yard-dash time of 4.34 .HIs NFL Career is not in jeopardy , I think its bad reporting on your part. Yes he has had issues, but no one has came out and said he wont be at TC , wont make the roster, much less his career is over.
    With the talent this guy has , and the potential he has to bring Arizonas offense in 2013 and beyond , Bruce Arians is being cautious with this kid and rightfully so. With Andre Roberts a lock as the slot guy this year , Swope isn’t thought to be a huge key of the offense , and the Cardinals have so much talent they can red shirt him if need be and not affect offensive production at all. All this is I think is Bruce Arians taking it easy with Swope and not push him if he doesn’t have to until TC. Once TC is here I think he will be fine like Arians said , Make the 53 man roster, and play a small role this season in 4 wideout sets. He has the talent to push Andre Roberts for the slot position job , and as soon as next season (2014) I think you could see Swope as the starting Slot guy. He has all the skills needed to be one of the best slot receivers in the NFL.