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South Carolina safety D.J. Swearinger: ‘I like the New England style of defense’

INDIANAPOLIS — D.J. Swearinger certainly has the sort of resume that would catch the eye of the folks in Foxboro.

The defensive back out of South Carolina has played all four positions in the secondary for the Gamecocks over the course of his college career, and the 5-foot-11, 210-pounder is known as a physical defender who has good versatility. He was a four-year starter for Steve Spurrier [1], and had six picks and 16 passes broken up at USC.

So it’s no wonder that Swearinger said Sunday afternoon that he met informally with two Patriots scouts already. He added that he’s always had an affinity for the way New England plays defense.

“I like the New England style of defense and I like coach Belichick and how he does things and how disciplined he is,” Swearinger said Sunday at the combine. “They win championships, and I think I can help them be a part of that.”

At South Carolina, he played in 52 of the 53 games in four seasons, making 33 starts and recording 244 tackles while moving back and forth in the secondary. He said he doesn’t have a preference as to where he ends up at the next level.

“I’m a leader, first and foremost. I have great ball skills. I’ve played every position on the back end, from corner, strong safety, free safety, to the nickel. I’m a versatile player. I’m not only just a safety — I’m an athlete,” he said. “I want to be a ball hawk. I really don’t have a preference — I just want to make plays.”

The Patriots are usually at or near the top of the league when it comes to takeaways, and Swearinger’s approach to forcing turnovers sounds like it would fit nicely with New England’s style.

“It’s the playmaker mentality — teams want to see turnovers. They want to see you make plays. Just going in and securing the tackle and hoping to get a turnover at the same time. Just being a playmaker,” he said. “It’s a big risk, but that’s why you have to secure the tackle first and then strip the ball.”