Photo of D.J. Swearinger
Grade
81.4 ?
  • 4.67 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 17 REPS
    Top Performer
  • 37.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 124.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 6.70 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 4.11 SEC
    Top Performer
Blue Star  =  Top Performer
  • 5'10" Height
  • 32 3/8" Arm Length
  • 208LBS. Weight
  • 9 1/2" Hands

Overview

Captain of the South Carolina defense and a four year starter, few college safeties hit as hard as Swearinger. Even though he played offense and defense in high school, there was never any doubt about where he fit at the college level – though there was some doubt about where he was going to play. Swearinger originally committed to Tennessee, but the resignation of then-head coach Phillip Fulmer caused a switch to South Carolina, where Steve Spurrier was more than happy to see him. An enforcer in the middle of the field, Swearinger is an incredibly productive and physical defender who has played every position in the secondary for South Carolina.



Swearinger played in all 13 games of his true freshman year for the Gamecocks (19 tackles), and then saw more time on defense as a sophomore, starting eight games while moving between free and strong safety (66 tackles, interception, five pass break-ups). He took more of a leadership role as a junior, starting every game, moving from strong safety to free safety in the third week of the year (80 tackles, three interceptions, three pass break-ups). In his senior season he was as productive as ever (80 tackles, two interceptions, seven pass break-ups) and saw his role grow even further, notching a significant amount of snaps at cornerback when injuries decimated the position for South Carolina.

Analysis

Strengths

High-motor, downhill run and pass defender who throws his body around, but with some control. Big hitter over the middle on receivers and pounding running backs, especially in tight quarters and as a backside pursuit defender. Good lateral movement to flow with runs from the back half, yet fly into the hole to prevent big runs. Feisty in-the-box defender who out-quicks or swims over lead blocks and fights through the whistle. Has experience at a variety of positions, and lines up against receivers regularly, using his physicality, agility, and knowledge of routes to stay with them across or down the field. Has the range to split the field in half in two-deep coverage. Effective blitzer off the edge, brings force into fullback blocks and quarterback hits. Competes for the ball while the receiver is making the catch, as he does in every other part of his game. Makes the easy interception on poor throws, but also snatches and dives for tougher picks.

Weaknesses

Average height for the position, though he has good thickness in his lower body. Best in a two-deep look, might not have the range to make plays and length to take on deep routes in single-high, although South Carolina often asks him to fulfill this role. More of an enforcer against receivers than backs. Prone to leaving his feet and goes low on tackles (especially in space), pro backs might avoid them more easily in the open field. NFL quarterbacks might take advantage of his aggressive nature, as he will jump underneath routes. Gets overly physical with receivers, sometimes crossing the pass interference line because he lacks the pure speed to keep up. Straddles the line with trash talk and hits through the whistle. Will likely get flagged and fined for overly-aggressive play.

NFL Comparison

T.J. Ward

Bottom Line

This tenacious hitter originally planned on going to Tennessee, but the resignation of Phillip Fulmer sent him into the arms of Steve Spurrier at South Carolina. He's played in every game since he arrived on campus, except for the 2012 matchup against Missouri, for which he was suspended after a hit on a defenseless receiver. He has played both free and strong safety, and his good performances as a spot duty at corner against big receivers suggests he has the potential to cover NFL tight ends in coverage well. He projects to be a day two pick.
C
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99 Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49 Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99 Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49 NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19 Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00 50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99 Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74 Chance to be in an NFL training camp
No Grade Likely needs time in developmental league.
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