The NFL draft isn’t for a couple more months, but Aggie fans are already excited about the possibility of hearing two of their own called in the first few picks. But Luke Joeckel and Damontre Moore aren’t the only Aggies looking to have their names called.
Ryan Swope has shown the ability to adjust to new schemes, new coaches and new quarterbacks while at Texas A&M.
Statistically the best wide receiver in Texas A&M history, Ryan Swope is in Indianapolis this week for the NFL Combine where he’s trying to improve his draft stock. 247Sports’ Steve Helwagen is in Indianapolis, and was on hand when Swope addressed the media on Friday.
“I need to do everything with confidence and go out and just have fun,” Swope said. “I need to take pressure off my shoulders and just go have fun, that’s what it’s all about. Competing with these guys, getting to compete with the best in the country, just have fun and do my best.”
Currently projected in the middle rounds, Swope is hoping to improve his status before April’s draft, and says that his competitive edge is what separates him from other receivers. Though competitiveness isn’t always something the average fan can see, Swope said the coaches at the Combine can.
“You just go out and compete with these guys and put up good numbers,” he said. “Finish every play and have that chip on your shoulder out there when you’re running around catching balls and stuff. Coaches can tell when you have that edge.”
One thing Swope says isn’t a problem is his confidence, he’s certain that he has what it takes to make it as an NFL receiver.
“I’m very confident,” he said. “People have made many sacrifices to get me to where I am today. From coaches to family, I’m confident that with people helping to get to where I’ve gotten today. I’m excited for this new opportunity.”
One thing that the former Austin Westlake star said helped him get ready for the NFL is playing against SEC defenses in his final season in Aggieland.
“Everyone knows the SEC is known for their defenses,” he said. “The speed on the field, the size, you can’t compare it. I could really tell this year that these SEC defenses are fast, strong, they’re well coached, disciplined. It definitely helped me out to experience that kind of defense.”
Swope also has experience playing with a variety of quarterbacks. It might be hard to find two quarterbacks more different than Ryan Tannehill and Johnny Manziel, but Swope had success with each of them. However, he said that it wasn’t a huge adjustment for him.
“They’re very different,” Swope said. “Johnny obviously had a remarkable year, and he’s a heck of an athlete, but it doesn’t really affect us. It’s a different style of play. Tannehill, we had a different kind of offense. Johnny had a lot of freedom back there to run around and make plays with his feet, obviously that allows receiver to get open downfield on a scramble drill, we just practiced different. It’s two different offenses with two different types of quarterbacks.”
Another thing that Swope has experienced is adjusting to a new coaching staff. Despite an entire scheme shift last year, Swope still had a productive season which should impress NFL coaches as well. Swope, however, gives all of the credit for their success to the coaching staff.
“It goes all across the board,” he said. “The strength coach getting us ready for summer. We knew we had to be physically in the best shape for this kind of offense and the speed we want to move at. There’s not getting ready for it in one week of preparation, it takes many workouts to push and move at the speed we go out. A lot of that had to do with our strength coaches getting us ready along with our coaches getting us mentally ready in the film room.”
Swope is looking to become the first Aggie wide receiver to be drafted since Terrence Murphy in 2005, and would join Jeff Fuller of the Miami Dolphins as the only active Aggie receivers in the NFL.