Texas A&M receiver Ryan Swope was timed at 4.34 seconds in the 40-yard dash on Sunday, putting him in a tie for the second-fastest 40 at this year’s Combine. Swope believes people didn’t expect him to run that fast in part because of the color of his skin.
“I think a lot of people were pretty shocked. You don’t see that every day, a white guy running a 4.3,” Swope said on the Dan Patrick Show.
Although Swope said he personally wasn’t surprised by his time because it was in line with what he’s been running in pre-Combine workouts, he said it’s common for people to lump white receivers together as if they’re all good route runners with good hands but lacking high-end speed. And he’s right. For instance, Swope’s profile on NFL.com is almost a parody of the way white wide receivers are always described.
“Very reliable receiver, his hands are strong enough . . . strong route knowledge,” the NFL.com profile says. “Gives excellent effort blocking . . . straight-line speed and acceleration are only average. . . . Doesn’t have the elite athleticism.”
To say the player with the second-fastest 40 in the entire Combine has “only average” straight-line speed is hilarious, as is the fact that NFL.com tells us the closest NFL comparison to Swope is another white guy, Jordan Shipley. For his part, Swope notes that he’s been compared to Wes Welker, although he hastens to add that that’s a comparison he’ll gladly take because he admires Welker as a player, even if he knows the comparison is only skin deep.
“I’ve been compared to Welker,” Swope said. “I think that’s a huge compliment because Welker’s a great football player. . . . But I think people decide to make a white and white comparison.”
Swope then said he thinks a better comparison is Jordy Nelson. Who’s also white. Which might mean that Swope has become so accustomed to people comparing him to other white receivers that he can’t help but do it himself. Or might just mean Swope knows that Nelson averages better than 15 yards a catch over his NFL career, and that Swope sees Nelson as a speedy receiver he wants to emulate, regardless of skin color.