The Denver Broncos created some buzz last week when they worked out University of Miami forward Erik Swoope. The 6'-5", 220-pound basketball player never averaged more than five points a game in college and recently decided against playing basketball overseas. Just a few weeks ago, Swoope thought his days as an athlete had come to an end.
Then came the call.
According to Shutdown Corner's Jeff Eisenberg, Miami basketball coach Jim Larranaga received a call from the Broncos a few weeks ago asking if Swoope would be interested in working out for the team before the draft. Swoope was interested, and he is now pursuing a chance to play football.
On Tuesday, a tweet emerged from (an unverified) Erik Swoope account saying he is going to enter the draft.
As Predominantly Orange pointed out on Twitter, the fact that Swoope decided to enter the draft may be an indication that he received positive vibes after his workout at Dove Valley. Swoope, however, is a long shot to get drafted.
Unlike New Orleans's Jimmy Graham and Denver's Julius Thomas, who both played one season of college football, Swoope has zero football experience (he has never played at any level). Swoope is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Antonio Gates, who played four years of basketball before working out for NFL scouts leading up to the draft. Gates went on to sign with San Diego as an undrafted free agent.
Gates (6'-4", 255 pounds), Graham (6'-7", 265 pounds), and Thomas (6'-5", 250 pounds) all have a few inches of height and thirty-something pounds of muscle on Swoope, which may cause teams to be wary of him as a tight end prospect.
Swoope may be projected as a wide receiver—he has been working out to gain more muscle, according to Eisenberg. Swoope has been contacting former basketball players that made the switch to football and has been studying the game on a crash course basis.
His commitment to make the transition, writes Eisenberg, has not gone unnoticed.
Swoope's commitment has impressed NFL scouts enough that they've told him he has a good chance to make an NFL team's practice squad next season even if he is not selected in the later rounds of the draft next month. His workout with the Broncos last Thursday went well enough that officials from the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs have since called to express interest.
Because Swoope has never played football, the biggest concern about him is obvious: Can he take a hit?
Miami's head coach seems to think so.
"In Erik's case, he's best when there's contact," Larranaga told Eisenberg. "I don't think that's going to discourage him at all. I even told my coaches, I could see him being on special teams tracking guys down and throwing people away to get to the ball carrier."
Outside of possibly being a seventh round pick, Swoope is not expected to be drafted. After the draft concludes, however, expect a handful of teams to pursue signing him as an undrafted college free agent.
As usual, John Elway's Broncos will be leading the charge.