When we thought the NFL draft was over for the Dallas Cowboys, they made a surprise move and traded a future pick to the San Francisco 49ers to draft tight end Geoff Swaim from the Texas Longhorns. To get a better idea of just what the Cowboys got in him, I contacted Wescott Eberts of the SBN site for the Longhorns, Burnt Orange Nation. He answered my questions about the "extra" seventh-round selection.
1. Geoff Swaim was a surprise pick. Just in general, what do you think caught the Cowboys' attention about him?
Swaim was an excellent blocker at Texas, but he also showed some serious athletic upside by posting a 4.6 40-yard dash and 35.5-inch vertical leap at the Texas Pro Timing Day in March.
2. The popular theory is that the Cowboys are looking at Swaim as a blocking tight end. Was that his strength in Austin?
With only 13 catches during his career, Swaim wasn't used much in the passing game, so there's no question that blocking was his strength and primary occupation at Texas. Whether he was working in-line in a three-point stance or operating from an H-back or fullback position, Swaim was excellent and workmanlike as a blocker for the Longhorns.
3. The flip side of that is how good was he at catching the ball? Was he just underutilized there?
Swaim never fully featured his speed for Texas in the passing game and dropped two passes in the Alamo Bowl against Oregon as a junior, but he was at least consistent with his hands in 2014, though he wasn't targeted often. He's never caught many passes in his career at any level, so it's hard to believe he's always been underutilized as a receiver. Still, those testing numbers are definitely intriguing.
4. As a seventh round pick, his two most likely avenues to stick are as a special teamer or to go to the practice squad (which could mean the Cowboys were grooming him to replace James Hanna when his contract is done). Which would you judge as more likely?
Whether it's on special teams or as a blocker, Swaim will do whatever it takes to help the team without complaint. The guess here though is that he'll get some time on the practice squad to work on his route running and determine the best ways to use him as a blocker.
5. What about his character, both as a player and off-field? Any history of being a party hard kind of guy? Any problems adjusting to the change from Mack Brown's easy-going style to Charlie Strong's strict regimen?
There's not much glory in blocking all the time, but Swaim never showed any signs of wanting the ball in a more prominent role and he never had any off-the-field incidents or was even connected to any issues. He's a pretty blue-collar, no-nonsense guy all around.
Some very interesting things that may fill in a couple of blanks. The blue-collar aspect certainly makes him a good fit for what Jason Garrett is doing in Dallas. But the really interesting thing is the remark about him playing some H-back and fullback while at Texas. He might offer the Cowboys a way to save a roster spot by not having to carry a fullback, while still grooming an eventual replacement for James Hanna, who has one year remaining on his contract. This might be what led the team to spending a 2016 pick to trade back into the seventh round to grab Swaim. In that context, the move makes more sense.
He'll be an interesting story to watch in training camp.