Chicago Bears: Ryan Swope

Source: WR Swope visited Bears

April, 19, 2013
Former Texas A&M wide receiver Ryan Swope recently made an official pre-draft visit to the Chicago Bears, according to a league source.

[+] EnlargeRyan Swope
Thomas Campbell/US PresswireRyan Swope caught 72 passes for 913 yards and eight touchdowns last season for Texas A&M.
Numerous mock drafts have projected Swope as being drafted somewhere between the second and fourth rounds.

One of college football's most productive receivers the past three years, Swope finished his career at Texas A&M with 252 catches for 3,117 yards and 24 touchdowns. His best statistical season came in 2011 when he caught 89 balls for 1,207 yards and 11 touchdowns from current Miami Dolphins quarterback and former first-round pick Ryan Tannehill.

Swope experienced little dropoff last season when freshman sensation and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel took over the Aggies offense, hauling in 72 receptions for 913 yards and eight touchdowns, including an 11-catch, 111-yard, one-touchdown performance against eventual national champion Alabama.

Swope also came up big in Texas A&M's Cotton Bowl victory over Oklahoma with eight receptions for 104 yards and one touchdown.

A handful of NFL scouts have mentioned being impressed with Swope's hands, route-running ability and knack for getting open, either against man coverage or zone.

The 6-foot-1, 206-pound wideout also answered a lot of questions about his speed when he ran a 4.34 40-yard dash at the NFL combine in February.

The Bears appear set at the top of their wide receiver depth chart with Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, but a need might exist to add another wideout to the mix after the club now that Devin Hester is exclusively a special teams contributor. The retirement of Johnny Knox, who last played in 2011, also deprives the Bears off a speedy vertical threat down the field.

Bears general manager Phil Emery is believed to have scouted at least one Texas A&M game in person last season.

The cutoff date for teams to host players on official visits was April 17, but draft prospects can continue to be put through private workouts until Thursday's draft.

Bears draft preview: Wide receivers

April, 16, 2013
AM ET continues its daily Bears draft preview with a look at the receivers.

Ryan SwopeBrett Davis/US PresswireTexas A&M's Ryan Swope had 161 catches for 2,120 yards and 19 touchdowns over his last two seasons.
The Chicago Bears lost any semblance of a speed element for their 2013 offense at receiver when Johnny Knox was forced to retire, and the club decided Devin Hester should focus on returns.

So it's reasonable to expect an infusion of speed into the receiving corps for what could be a dynamic offense in 2013, provided the club finds an explosive target in the draft to complement Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. Still, general manager Phil Emery stressed that speed isn't necessarily the determining factor in any decision the team plans to make at that position.

"Anytime you lose a player (Knox) of that quality and that kind of speed, it does impact you," Emery said. "We'll look at all avenues in terms of finding somebody that can add to that mix of wide receivers. I would say specifically (the goal is) to find the best player that can help us (regardless of speed)."

The Bears are believed to be interested in Texas A&M's Ryan Swope (161 catches for 2,120 yards and 19 touchdowns over his last two seasons), who possesses 4.3 speed in the 40-yard dash to go with a concerning history of concussions. Emery attended Texas A&M's 29-24 upset victory at Alabama in which Swope caught 11 passes for 111 yards and a touchdown.

Tyrone Goard of Eastern Kentucky could also draw interest from the Bears, which met with him formally at the East-West Shrine game. Projected to be a late-round pick, Goard, possesses the ability to stretch the field but like Swope, has suffered concussions. The Bears have also shown some interest in projected late-round pick Eric Rogers of Cal Lutheran.

The club was present at Rogers' Pro Day on March 11.

The next 10: 11. Aaron Dobson, Marshall, 6-3, 210; 12. Markus Wheaton, Oregon State, 5-11, 189; 13. Da'Rick Rogers, Tennessee Tech, 6-2, 217; 14. Josh Boyce, Texas Christian, 5-11, 206; 15. Ryan Swope, Texas A&M, 6-0, 205; 16. Denard Robinson, Michigan, 5-10, 199; 17. Marquise Goodwin, Texas, 5-9, 183; 18. Tavarres King, Georgia, 6-0, 189; 19. Aaron Mellette, Elon, 6-2, 217; 20. Kenny Stills, Oklahoma, 6-0, 194.

Position grade: B

Analysis: The one-two punch of Marshall and Jeffery should be deadly in the new offense of coach Marc Trestman provided the latter can stay healthy. Jeffery produced an impressive NFL debut (three catches, 80 yards and a touchdown), but missed six games because of injuries. With Hester likely out of the picture in the slot, the club's options there include Earl Bennett and Eric Weems. Bennett possesses dynamic run-after-catch ability and chemistry with quarterback Jay Cutler, but injuries have hampered his production over the last two seasons.

What the club lacks in the receiving corps at this point is a speed element that would draw off some of the extra coverage that Marshall sees on an every-game basis. By adding a speed receiver to play in the slot, the Bears can keep safeties honest, so to speak. The Bears fully expect to field an explosive offense under Trestman. Emery started that process with the acquisition of tight end Martellus Bennett, who will threaten defenses down the seams. A new slot receiver to go with Bennett could open things up for the entire offense. The question, however, is whether the team sees that as a need position considering some of the holes in the roster in other areas.