That's because after Miami (Fla.) prospect Sean Taylor, there was no clear cut second-rated safety on most team's draft boards.
Purdue's Stuart Schweigert may have changed that with his
performance in Indianapolis.
Scouts already knew the 6-2, 218-pound had ideal size to play
safety in the NFL. And they also knew because of his
school-record 17 interceptions - five more than Rod Woodson
had as a Boilermaker - that Schweigert possesses excellent
But Schweigert really opened eyes when he ran a pair of
blistering 4.45-second 40s on the notoriously slow track at
Indianapolis, one of the best times clocked by the safety
prospects who chose to run there.
"I wanted to do everything there so I could be a little more laid
back at (Purdue's) pro day," said Schweigert, a four-year starter
at free safety.
He not only did that, but coupled with his performance at the
Senior Bowl, Schweigert also firmly established himself as a
player who will hear his name called during the first day of next
That's not bad for a guy who was recruited by Nebraska as an
option quarterback and went to Purdue thinking he was an
"As a high school guy, I was an offensive player, but when I got to
Purdue, there was a spot open at free safety," Schweigert said.
"Ever since that fall, I never looked back. I fell in love with
Schweigert immediately realized his future was as a defensive
player after setting a school freshman record with five
interceptions, including two off of former Indiana quarterback and
current Steelers wide receiver Antwaan Randle El deep in
Boilermakers' territory during a Purdue win in 2000.
The coaching staff offered to allow him to play offense also that
spring, but Schweigert chose to concentrate on defense after
winning Big Ten Defensive Freshman of the Year honors.
"They gave me the opportunity to play both," Schweigert said.
"But since I had that freshman year where I saw quite a bit of
playing time, I decided to concentrate on defense."
Schweigert likely would have left Purdue after his junior season,
but he missed the opener that season with a sprained knee and
then had a nagging calf injury dog him throughout that remainder
of that season. So he stayed in school, hoping to put together a
strong senior season.
After picking off just two passes as a junior, he rebounded with
four interceptions as a senior, adding 2.5 sacks and 89 tackles
Then, at the Senior Bowl, he showed teams he was more than
just a centerfielder as he showed off his coverage skills in some
of the different drills.
"I was a little worried about my man-to-man skills because I
hadn't done it, but once I got there, I forgot about that and just
went and played," Schweigert said. "I got an interception in
one-on-ones and we did a press release drill where I got up and
pressed the receivers. But I think I had a pretty good week."
Even so, man-to-man isn't his strength. Schweigert is at his best
when the ball is in the air.
"I think the strength of my game is my instincts," he said. "I think
get a pretty good break on the ball and I think that led to a lot of
my interceptions. I want to be in on every single play. On a run
play, even if I'm blitzing, I want to run back down field and make a
play. I always want to be around the pile and touch the ball
One downside for Schweigert will be some minor problems he
had with alcohol while at Purdue. He was twice charged with
underage drinking as a freshman and last spring was charged
with public drunkenness after failing a field sobriety test when a
vehicle driven by him was pulled over by police. A more serious
charge of drunken driving was thrown out because of a
But Schweigert feels he answered many of those character
questions and more during the infamous interview sessions at
"There's some really strange stuff there," he said. "The New York Giants test was pretty crazy. It was like 180 true or false and
about eight pages of fill in the blank. 'Would you rather be a dog
or a cat?' 'Did you ever think about killing someone?' It's just
kind of off the wall stuff. The Houston Texans test was pretty nice.
It was like problem solving. You would do a peg board with
another guy on the other side and you're trying to tell him where
to you're are at, but he's looking at it from a different way. It was
catching bean bags with goggles on that mess up your vision."
2004 Draft Prospect Interview: Stuart Schweigert
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