Washington Football Team’s next breakout TE may already be on the roster

Tell me if you’ve heard this story before. A former college quarterback enters the league and drifts from practice squad to practice squad before finally switching positions and getting some playing time at tight end.

You might think I’m talking about Logan Thomas who followed that trajectory, going from a prestigious career at Virginia Tech before being drafted in the fourth round by the Arizona Cardinals. After going 1-for-8 in his first game, it was clear quarterback might not be the best route for him in the NFL.

Bouncing around practice squads for three years, Thomas finally got an opportunity at the tight end position in 2017 with the Buffalo Bills. And he set the league on fire…just kidding.

Thomas finished the season with a grand total of seven receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown. At that time could anyone have envisioned what he would accomplish three seasons later with the Washington Football Team? In that campaign, he 72 passes for 670 yards and six touchdowns.

Washington Football Team: Is Tyrone Swoopes the next Logan Thomas?

Washington has another player in that Logan Thomas mold on its 90-man roster in Tyrone Swoopes.

Swoopes also played quarterback in college at the University of Texas. He opted to switch positions and enter the 2017 draft as a tight end, where he went undrafted and signed with the Seattle Seahawks.

He like Thomas entered the league at 23 years old. He also bounced around the league a bit. He was on and off the Seahawks active roster and practice squad and on the Eagles roster before signing a practice squad deal with Washington in December 2020.

Although he has theoretically been in the NFL for four seasons, he has only played in seven total games, which means he is still fresh in terms of his usage and durability.

Thus far in his career, Swoopes has two receptions for 28 yards. Yes, that doesn’t speak breakout tight end to anyone, but at the same age, Thomas was still bouncing around practice squads as a quarterback, so in a way, Swoopes is ahead of the game.

The similarities between the two players don’t stop there. Both of them also have a similar build. Swoopes is 6-foot-4 and 254 pounds compared to Thomas who is 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds.

Both players measured with the same wingspan and also had pretty similar pre-draft numbers. Thomas ran a 4.61 40 at the combine and had a 35.5-inch vertical jump, while Swoopes ran a 4.75 40 at his pro day and had a 35-inch vertical jump.

Although Thomas was a much better college passer, both players showed their athleticism with their rushing ability and their propensity to extend plays. Thomas finished his college career with 1359 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns on 495 attempts, while Swoopes finished with 966 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns on 256 attempts.

During his senior year, Swoopes showed his gutsiness and his athletic ability in a 50-47 double overtime win over No. 10 Notre Dame, where he ran in the game-winning touchdown in Taylor Heinicke-esque fashion.

Given the fact that Washington hasn’t brought in any tight ends in free agency and the team released Thaddeus Moss, who some were slating as a breakout candidate, Swoopes should have an opportunity to showcase his skills next season.

The fact that he is on the same roster as Thomas, who made a similar transition from quarterback to tight end, can only bode well for Swoopes, as he can benefit from that mentorship.

In 2017, during pre-draft interviews, Swoopes actually compared himself to Thomas and Terrelle Pryor, another quarterback who switched positions in the NFL and also, ironically, previously played for Washington.

They’re both natural athletes, and I feel like I’m the same thing. I feel like if both of them can do it, I can do the same.

Shawn Watson, who was Swoopes’ quarterback coach at Texas, spoke glowingly on his ability to learn and utilize his quarterback knowledge at the tight end position.

I think that [NFL teams] are going to find out that because of his QB background, that he’ll understand the details of the passing game and understand what he has to do. He understands the game of football. You tell him once and he’s got it. He’s a natural football learner.

This was reminiscent of what Coach Rivera mentioned about Thomas’s ability to pick up the position as he said, “He’s got the smarts because he’s a former quarterback. He understands the game.”

After watching Washington’s coaching staff turn Thomas into one of the league’s top tight ends and J.D. McKissic into a premier receiving running back threat, I have no doubt that they can work wonders with Swoopes.

Thomas might have been a late bloomer, but so was Darren Waller, who went from a so-so college receiver to being drafted by the Ravens and being the sixth receiver on the depth chart. After two years with the Ravens, where he caught 12 passes for 103 yards, Waller was suspended for a year, before being picked up by the Raiders.

Although he has turned into one of the premier tight ends in the NFL, he didn’t take the league by storm until 2019, in his age 27 years.

Swoopes will turn 27 this year. I’m not saying he will put up Waller-type production, but he could become a valuable asset in the Logan Thomas mold for this Washington Football Team.