An underdog in the NFL Draft process, former Florida Gators wide receiver Freddie Swain is out to prove himself with the Seattle Seahawks.
Seattle's sixth-round pick this past weekend, Swain enters an environment where he will have to compete in order to stick around. Quarterback Russell Wilson is already surrounded by passing game weapons in D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Phillip Dorsett, but Swain has the full intention of becoming a versatile, household name within the offense.
In fact, shortly after he was selected, Swain was already on the phone with Wilson to get to know his new quarterback.
“I just got off the phone with him. Russell Wilson is one of the best in the league and I think he goes every week, and he proves that," Swain told Seattle media on Saturday. "He came in and he had a chip on his shoulder, and just plays with a passion."
The 6-0, 197 lb. slot receiver favorably compares to a former Seahawks receiver in Golden Tate. At the 2020 NFL Combine, Swain posted an impressive 4.46-second 40-yard dash, 36.5-inch vertical and 124-inch broad jump. Meanwhile, Tate stood at 5-10, 199 lbs., running 4.42 in the 40, and jumped 35 inches vertically and 120 inches broad at the 2010 NFL Combine. Tate ended up being Seattle's second-round pick that year.
Lockett also bears resemblance to Swain's athletic profile, standing at 5-10, 182 lbs. at the 2015 NFL Combine. There, he ran a 4.4, jumped 35.3 inches vertically and 121 inches broad.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, who also serves as the team's executive vice president of football operations, selected Tate in his first draft with the team as he selected Swain ten years later. Lockett was selected by the Seahawks in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
The athletic comparisons are intriguing from a speed, size, and explosion perspective, and perhaps it provides insight as to why the Seahawks took Swain. Though, as a sixth-round pick, Swain will have to climb his way up the depth chart. ANd he's motivated to do so.
“It’s motivating," Swain said of joining a talented wide receiver corps. "For somebody like me, I like challenges. I like being the underdog, so anytime I can compete with a great group of guys, I feel like would fit in well and it just brings the intensity in the room up.”
One way that Swain can gain a roster spot is through his special teams experience. Swain returned 39 punts for an average of 7.9 yards per return at Florida, including a punt return touchdown in 2018. As Lockett has emerged in a pivotal role for Seattle's offense, the team could look to cut down on his return snaps to prevent a possible injury.
In which case, another role will present itself to Swain.
"I think [special teams] will have a big impact for me at the next level," said Swain. "I just have to come in and compete and special teams will get me a step further on the field, besides offense. Just come in and catch the ball and don’t put the ball on the ground and get it back for the offense.”
Swain has always been an underdog, but his work began to pay off during his final two years at Florida when he compiled 52 receptions for 782 yards and 12 touchdowns. He carries the same underdog mentality into Seattle, and is the type of player you'd bet on to make a 53-man roster.
"I think I should fit in well with the guys. They have a lot of guys that just love to compete. I think I should fit in well.”