|NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: South Carolina FS/CB D.J. Swearinger||03.05.13 at 8:46 am ET|
WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that might be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2013 NFL draft. Here is one is a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.
Position: Free safety/cornerback
School: South Carolina
Weight: 208 pounds
Achievements: 2012 All-SEC second team (coaches, AP)
What he brings: Swearinger became known as an aggressive, hard-hitting safety for South Carolina over the last four years. His speed and acceleration have been noted as strong points for him. Swearinger is on the shorter side for a safety, but scouts agree that his overall strong build mostly makes up for that. Though he moved back and forth between cornerback and safety this past year, he projects more as a safety, and Rob Rang of CBS Sports notes concerns about his ability to change directions fluidly enough to play cornerback well. Swearinger has played both free and strong safety.
Where the Patriots could get him: Round 2
Notes: Swearinger had 79 tackles, second most on the Gamecocks, last season, and a team-leading seven pass breakups. He was suspended for a hit on a defenseless receiver and has also drawn penalties for hits to the upper chest and head during his time at South Carolina. His physical play is a positive for him if he keeps it under control, but it could be a negative if it draws penalties or results in injuries to himself.
Video: Here’s a collection of plays by Swearinger.
|South Carolina safety D.J. Swearinger: ‘I like the New England style of defense’||02.24.13 at 1:35 pm ET|
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, 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.”