D.J. Swearinger’s 40-yard dash time didn’t improve as much as he had hoped Wednesday, but he took comfort in the fact that he excelled in the drills that involved a football at South Carolina’s Pro Timing Day.
“You don’t run a 40 on the football field. You play football. I am just ready to show that I can play football,” Swearinger said. “I am a football player first and foremost and a smart guy on the field, and I am going to be a leader on the field.”
Swearinger was one of 18 former Gamecocks who performed speed, strength and agility drills for scouts from 31 of the 32 NFL teams. He ran a 4.63 40-yard dash, slower than his goal of 4.5 but probably not in a range that would jeopardize the positive momentum he has as April’s NFL draft approaches.
Swearinger, who had 244 tackles and six interceptions in four seasons at South Carolina, has been projected as high as a first-round selection in the draft.
“I want to go first round,” he said. “That’s my ultimate goal, but wherever I go, I am looking to get to my team and start day one and be an impact player from day one. When (April) 25th gets here, I’ll just be waiting on that call.”
Running back Kenny Miles ran the fastest 40-yard dash during Wednesday’s event with a 4.5 flat, and defensive tackle Byron Jerideau had an impressive day in the weight room, bench pressing 225 pounds 37 times. Almost 100 family and friends showed up at Williams-Brice Stadium to cheer on the former Gamecocks.
Pro Timing Day “is a different process,” Swearinger said. “It’s more a track approach, testing, measurables. There is nothing really football about it, but if it’s something we have to do to get to the next level, I am all for it.”
Swearinger participated in the 40-yard dash and secondary position drills conducted by professional scouts Wednesday. He ran a 4.67 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine in February. He has private meetings scheduled with the Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets and Cleveland Browns.
At the combine “they try to drain your brain, drain your body,” Swearinger said. “They hope to make you perform on your weakest day, but here, the day before, you get to be at your house and perform in front of your fans. It’s a more comfortable area.”
Video: Pro day highlights
Video: D.J. Swearinger
Video: Marcus Lattimore