Daxton Swanson isn’t exactly a household name. But it won’t be long until you hear more about the Sam Houston State product. There is an opportunity for Swanson to snag a roster spot and become a major contributor in the Patriots’ depleted secondary this season. After all, there’s a former Patriot corner that Swanson strongly resembles: Asante Samuel.
Here’s the lowdown on Swanson. After going undrafted two springs ago, he ended up with the Colts, but an injury held him out of action and he was released in October of 2013. He spent the remainder of that season in San Francisco before being released from the 49ers in May of last year. Then, the Patriots jumped in and signed Swanson.
In minicamp and training camp last summer, Swanson’s best trait stood out: his ball skills. In non-padded practices especially, Swanson picked balls off left and right. In padded sessions, he was still very impressive and was a tough cut for the Patriots to make before Week 1. He played very well in the preseason game against the Giants, recovering a fumble.
The Patriots prudently signed him to the practice squad in mid-September, and Swanson has been in New England ever since.
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Swanson etched his name into the history of Sam Houston State football, setting a school record with 14 career interceptions in regular season games. Intercepting passes is what Swanson does best, and watching him reminds one of former Patriots star corner Samuel.
First off, the two resemble each other in stature. Samuel stands at 5-foot-10, 185 pounds and Swanson at 5-foot-11, 191 pounds.
Asante Samuel in action for the Falcons in 2013. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports
Additionally, ball hawking and risk-taking were two hallmarks of Samuel’s game, just like Swanson. Over his 11-year career, Samuel hauled in 51 interceptions.
Every Patriots fan can remember Samuel’s flashy style of play. It would be nice to have a corner like that again.
Without a clear-cut set of starting cornerbacks, the sky is the limit for Swanson. Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan, Bradley Fletcher and Robert McClain are all pretty sure bets to make the team, but Swanson could challenge any of them for playing time if he excels in training camp again. Certainly, he should have the upper hand on newly signed veteran Derek Cox and the slew of rookie corners because of his experience in the Patriots’ system.
Mark these words: if Swanson makes the team, you will be noticing on Sundays just how similar he is to Samuel. And frankly, the Patriots need a ball hawk. No corner on the Patriots this year will be able to erase a receiver like Darrelle Revis did last season, but Swanson could erase possessions with timely interceptions.
We’ll see how it plays out the rest of the summer, but keep a close eye on Swanson as he tries to channel Samuel in New England. If nothing else, keep him on your radar because of his awesome name.