Last offseason, the Indianapolis Colts signed a player who hadn't played a single down of collegiate football but a player who, instead, had been a basketball player at Miami.
The team knew that it would be an adjustment for Erik Swoope and that it would certainly not be immediate, but throughout the offseason and training camp last year, Swoope showed the potential that caused the Colts to continue to work with him, as he stuck around on the team's practice squad last year. Now, Swoope is looking to make a push for a roster spot, and he's off to a good start.
He was one of the stars of Wednesday's OTA session, the second such session open to the media and the fifth held by the team overall. He's turning heads of both media and coaches alike, and he's showing a lot of development from last year. Colts head coach Chuck Pagano mentioned today how Swoope is becoming a football player after playing collegiate basketball.
Pagano: Swoope is "becoming a football player right before our eyes." Needs to keep competing, "make himself necessary." #Colts— George Bremer (@gmbremer) May 27, 2015
I was impressed with him during training camp last year, especially considering that he was transitioning from playing basketball to playing with an NFL team in training camp. He showed some nice flashes as a receiver but it was clear that he needed more work, which the practice squad provided him. He still likely is the fourth tight end on the roster right now behind Dwayne Allen, Coby Fleener, and Jack Doyle, but if Swoope continues to impress this offseason and into camp, there certainly could be a spot for him.
Erik Swoope is a player who is hard not to root for, and his transition to an NFL tight end is continuing this offseason where he is impressing many.
"He's doing a nice job," Pagano told the media after today's OTA session. "He's turning into a football player right before our eyes. The guy is a handworker. He's got talent. He can run. He's got a big catch radius. He understands things obviously better now than he ever has, so he's able to play faster like I mentioned before. He's making plays. Like we tell all those guys, and I mentioned it when we first got together in here and even after the draft, they've got to find a way to become necessary and make it to where as a coaching staff, we sit back and we say at the end of the day, ‘We've got to have this guy.' Again, it'll be with all those guys that are fighting for roster spots, special teams are going to play a major role in that as well. Until we get the pads on though, we could all dress out and look pretty good out there right now. Most of us."
Pagano is rightfully hesitant about getting too excited until they put the pads on later this summer for training camp and preseason, but so far Erik Swoope has been one of the standouts of the team's OTAs so far and certainly an intriguing player to keep an eye on.