Among the 15 NFL prospects partaking in the Texas Longhorns Pro Day on Tuesday was
quarterback tight end Tyrone Swoopes.
Despite spending his entire Longhorn career as a quarterback, Swoopes’ Pro Day performance consisted of the 6’4, 247-pounder flashing a bit of why many have perceived his potential future in the NFL to come as a pass-catching tight end.
With representatives from all 32 NFL teams in attendance, Swoopes displayed the athleticism that helped him thrive in the “18-Wheeler” package at Texas the last two seasons, completing 19 reps on the bench press, along with recording a 35-inch vertical jump and clocking a 4.65 40-yard dash — all impressive marks for a tight end prospect.
Swoopes’ athleticism was never really in question, though.
Despite his impressive frame, along with simply running defenders over — which should fare well as he develops as a run blocker — Swoopes has proven his ability to simply run away from some defenders and make other would-be tacklers miss with finesse.
But unlike many of the up-tempo offenses in college football, the tight end is utilized quite often in the NFL, so the burning question now is can Swoopes catch the ball after spending the majority of his career throwing it?
It appears Swoopes alleviated any concerns about his ability as a receiver at Texas’ Pro Day.
“Catching the ball is always something that I've been able to do, catch a football,” Swoopes said per TexasSports.com. “So it really wasn't that big of a transition for me and I think that's my strongest thing right now.”
“I think I can raise quite a few (eyebrows) just with how well I move and how well I caught the ball,” Swoopes added, via the Statesman. “I think I deserve a shot, just like anybody else.”
ESPN noted that the Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dallas Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks are among the NFL teams interested in his services at this point. Such interest speaks volumes about the work Swoopes has put in throughout the offseason at Michael Johnson Performance to successfully transition from a career quarterback to an NFL tight end prospect.
“It's been a lot easier than what I thought it would be,” Swoopes said. “I’ve still got a lot of work to get to where I want to be. It makes it easier to get in pockets of zones and things like that, which makes it easier.”
“I think you just have to believe in yourself,” Swoopes added of his mindset throughout his transition to tight end. “Because I think that I've said it before that if you don't believe in what you do, then nobody else will believe in what you do.”
After seeing true freshman Shane Buechele take over the starting quarterback role last season, Swoopes lobbied for Charlie Strong to give him a look at tight end during Texas’ 41-7 victory over UTEP. Swoopes never got that opportunity and finished his Longhorn career without a single reception.
Courtesy of an offseason cultivating his catching prowess and fine-tuning himself athletically, Swoopes’ first career reception may very well come as a member of an NFL franchise.