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Thursday, July 25, 2013
A quick end for Cardinals' rookie receiver

By Mike Sando

One of the Arizona Cardinals' nine draft choices for 2013 did not make it to training camp.

That could be a good thing in the long run for receiver Ryan Swope, whose concussion problems led the team to place him on the reserve/retired list Thursday as training camp approached. The move spares Swope from suffering additional damage to his brain, a matter of increasing concern in the NFL.

The Cardinals used a sixth-round pick for Swope because they thought he could provide quickness on shorter routes and straight-line speed on deeper ones. They knew concussions had been a problem for Swope, but they thought he was worth a sixth-round choice in part because the head injuries hadn't kept him off the field much.

"Then to couple that with the amount of production he had, and then going into the combine, the guy has answered every test," general manager Steve Keim said after the draft. "His times at Indy were remarkable. He ran in the high 4.3s. His three-cone, which is one of my favorite drills, which judges a lot of the change-of-direction and movement skills, he ran a high 6.5, low 6.6, which was easily one of the best times at Indy this year."

We should expect the Cardinals to remain in the market for a receiver with vertical speed, an element new coach Bruce Arians values more than some other coaches do. Arians was with the Pittsburgh Steelers when Mike Wallace was an emerging deep threat for the team. He's installing an offense emphasizing deeper routes.

Update: Swope says through @Rep1Sports that he suffered another concussion during spring practices and retired on the advice of doctors. He'll go back to school and reassess in a year. Note that the Cardinals will retain his rights while he's on the reserve/retired list.