In 1992, Woody Harrelson proved to Wesley Snipes that, in fact, white men can jump. Recently, Texas A&M wide receiver Ryan Swope showed NFL scouts that white men can run, too.
Swope had a terrific showing at last week’s NFL combine and even wowed scouts with his speed, running a 4.34 40-yard dash, which was apparently unexpected given his skin color. His speedy 40 time tied for second among wide receivers along with West Virginia’s Tavon Austin at this year’s combine, falling behind only the 4.27 run by Texas’ Marquise Goodwin.
Swope was a guest on NBC’s The Dan Patrick Show on Thursday and discussed his 40 time and the misconceptions about his speed.
“I think a lot of people were pretty shocked,” Swope said. “You don’t see that every day, a white guy running a 4.3.”
During college and even now after his showing at the combine, Swope has drawn comparisons to some current NFL players, namely Patriots receiver Wes Welker. But while honored by the contrast, Swope sees the comparison as more of a racial matter than that of pure skill.
“I’ve been compared to Welker, I think that’s a huge compliment because Welker’s a great football player.” Swope said. “But I think people decide to make a white and white comparison.”
Aside from the speed thing, which Swope has more than a three-tenths of a second advantage over Welker (4.65 at the 2004 combine) in the 40-yard dash, Swope, at 6-foot-1, is much taller than the 5-foot-9 Welker and did play on the outside a decent amount for the Aggies during his career.
Skin tone aside, Swope’s production in college, which included 252 catches, over 3,000 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns over four seasons, had him slated as a mid-round pick for the upcoming NFL draft. But his speed and stellar showing at the combine may very well see him sneak into the first couple rounds instead. Either way, Woody Harrelson must be off somewhere smiling.