Should improve pass protection against speed rushers
Summary: Swanson has been one of the best and most consistent offensive linemen in the SEC over the past few years. Arkansas has had some rough years in the SEC West, but Swanson has proved his quality by playing very well against elite defensive tackles on an annual basis.
Swanson was a four-year starter who was very durable as he made 50 starts in his Arkansas career. He was very effective for Arkansas. Swanson is a tough run blocker who has a mean streak to him. That caused some players at other schools to label him a dirty player, as Swanson never missed an opportunity to fight through the whistle or do whatever it took to keep a defender at bay. Swanson should be an asset in the NFL as a run blocker as he has strength at the point of attack and is quick to fire to the second level.
Swanson improved his pass blocking throughout his collegiate career. He went up against fast speed rushers and strong bull rushers. Swanson held his own and was good at hitting double teams. The linemen at LSU and Alabama gave Swanson good preparation for the next level. Like all players, Swanson will have to get used to the speed of the NFL, but he should be a well-rounded center who is equally effective blocking for the run or pass.
Swanson has an excellent combination of size, strength, quickness, technique and intelligence for the center position. He could fit in a man blocking or zone scheme in the NFL. There is a real possibility that Swanson could be an immediate starter. He could break into the lineup at guard or center. Swanson's intelligence should allow him to develop into a center who makes the protection calls and that could come in handy if he is ever forced to work with a young quarterback.
Swanson looks like a starting center for a long time in the NFL. He should be a nice value selection on the second day of the draft, but it wouldn't be surprising if a team desperate for a center considers taking him late in the first round like the Cowboys did last year with Travis Frederick.
Player Comparison: Alex Mack. The Browns took Mack with the 21st pick in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft. Swanson probably won't go that high, but he has a similar skill set to Mack (6-4, 311). They are almost the same size with the power to be effective in the ground game and the athleticism to be a quality pass protector. Mack has developed into one of the better centers in the NFL, and Swanson has the potential to be a good one.
NFL Matches: Atlanta, Jacksonville, Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, San Francisco, New England
There are a number of teams that need a new center. Atlanta never adequately replaced Todd McClure, and WalterFootball.com heard from sources that the Falcons want to improve the interior of their offensive line. Drafting Swanson could give Matt Ryan a long-term center to work with.
The Jaguars had Brad Meester call it a career, so they'll need a new center. Baltimore really missed Matt Birk last year, as Gino Gradkowski was a disappointment. The Ravens could upgrade their center position with Swanson on day two.
Cleveland may lose Alex Mack in free agency and that would leave big hole in the middle of the Browns offensive line. The Lions re-signed Dominic Raiola for 2014, but have to get a long-term answer at the position.