NFL Draft Q&A: Texas QB-turned-TE Tyrone Swoopes
Our NFL Draft Q&A series continues with Texas' Tyrone Swoopes, who played quarterback for the Longhorns but is trying to make the NFL as a tight end. He has the frame for it at 6-foot-4 and 245 pounds, and has spent the past two months working on running routes and learning to be a tight end. He started 14 games at quarterback at Texas and played last year in their "18-Wheeler" package -- he wore 18 for the Longhorns -- and had three touchdowns in an early game against Notre Dame. He took time to talk to us about his preparation for Texas' pro day on March 28.
Q: Where are you doing your training for pro day?
A: "I'm training at Michael Johnson Performance in McKinney. There were quite a few guys there -- most have already left. (WR) Robert Davis from Georgia State, (WR) Bug Howard from UNC, (C) Kyle Fuller from Baylor (CB) Brandon Wilson from Houston, (QB) Greg Ward from Houston, (LB) Tyus Bowser from Houston, (UCF)'s Shaquill Griffin.
Q: What have been the most important things for you to work on as you get yourself ready to showcase yourself as a tight end?
A: "I think mostly it's been trying to work on everything, as far running routes, learning blocking techniques, just getting in shape. You have to be a different body type and be able to do different things going from quarterback to tight end. Just getting my body ready for that. I'm about 6-4, 6-5 and fluctuate between 245 and 250. There's more muscle, that's really it."
Q: Are there college quarterbacks you've followed that have made this transition that you're using as a model, or a source of optimism?
A: "I look at Julian Edelman. Obviously a smaller guy, but he made the transition pretty well from being an athletic quarterback at Kent State to being a Super Bowl-winning receiver. Also, Terrelle Pryor has more recently made the move but he's also doing pretty good for himself, with the Browns and getting a new contract with the Redskins. I look at those two guys and think to myself if they put in the hard work and put in the hours to do it, then I know I can do the same."
Q: What of your skills translates best to being a tight end? You showed you can take a hit and continue after contact.
A: "Just not being a regular quarterback, being a running, more physical guy, that translates. My blocking and when I do get the ball in my hands, doing the same thing I did in college. The brain part of it too, getting open, knowing how to communicate with the quarterback."
Q: Is there a number you're shooting for as a 40 time, knowing you're doing it at 245 pounds?
A: "I'm shooting for a low 4.6, maybe push the 4.5s. I don't know. I think a lot of people will think I'll be in the 4.7 range, but hopefully I can prove them wrong and show them I'm a little faster than everybody thinks I am."
Q: Who was the toughest guy you went up against in college?
A: "There's a couple. My sophomore year, when I played quarterback, pretty much the whole defense from TCU was pretty tough. The d-line all the way to the safeties, they were physical and solid all the way through. Individual, probably Jaylon Smith from Notre Dame. He was a great player."
Q: Along the same lines, who was the best teammate you played with at Texas?
A: "As far as a good player and person. probably Jaxon Shipley. He was always a good guy. He never treated me like most people treat freshmen when they walk in. He always welcomed me, especially when I was playing as a young sophomore. He made me feel comfortable back there. Definitely, as pure talent and athleticism, definitely D'Onta (Foreman). To be as big as he is and able to do what he did last year, that was very impressive. And not that he's not a good guy, but physically, he's one of the best teammates I've been around."
Q: Your coach at Texas, Charlie Strong, is here at USF in Tampa now. What kind of coach are they getting?
A: "He's going to be tough on them. You've got to do things his way or you'll get disciplined. At the end of the day, it helps you grow, as a player and as a man. That's one thing I really liked about him. His whole staff is just awesome, and when they get comfortable with each other, they'll almost be like another one of the players in the locker room. They come through talking to guys, playing around. They'll get the best of both worlds with Coach Strong."
Q: We ask everybody for food recommendations. If I'm in Austin, where's your favorite place to eat?
A: "My favorite place is probably P. Terry's. I usually try to limit myself to one double cheeseburger, but I might sometimes get two, and some fries. It's good. I like it."
Check out our other NFL Draft Q&As: Arizona State kicker Zane Gonzalez, Baylor quarterback Seth Russell, Ole Miss receiver Quincy Adeboyejo, Nebraska receiver Jordan Westerkamp, Simon Fraser linebacker Jordan Herdman, Southern Miss center Cameron Tom, Kansas State defensive end Jordan Willis, Texas A&M tackle Avery Gennesy, Florida State defensive end DeMarcus Walker, Miami tight end David Njoku, Connecticut safety Obi Melifonwu, Arkansas defensive lineman Jeremiah Ledbetter, Miami cornerback Corn Elder, Oklahoma State defensive tackle Vincent Taylor, Stanford safety Dallas Lloyd, West Virginia cornerback Rasul Douglas, Florida tackle David Sharpe, Mississippi State WR/RB Brandon Holloway, Minnesota cornerback Jalen Myrick, Oklahoma State tackle Victor Salako, N.C. State center Joe Scelfo, Army linebacker Andrew King, Louisana Tech receiver Trent Taylor, Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara, USC defensive tackle Stevie Tu'ikolovatu and Saint Francis safety Lorenzo Jerome.