We’ve already talked plenty about what the Detroit Lions may do with their third overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. They could trade out of it, they could cross their fingers and hope Chase Young falls into their lap, they could draft Tua Tagovailoa (lol jk), or they could just grab the second-best defensive prospect in the nation, however they think that may be.
But there hasn’t been much talk about what the Lions could do after that. Detroit has the 35th overall pick in the draft, as well, and that should provide another opportunity to get an immediate-impact player at the top of the second round.
Dane Brugler over at That Athletic released a two-round mock draft this week (subscription required) and it provided an interesting option for the Lions with their second pick.
After taking Ohio State cornerback Jeffrey Okudah with the third overall pick, Brugler went offense for the Lions in the second round, snagging Georgia running back D’Andre Swift.
Taking a running back in the second round just two years after doing the same with Kerryon Johnson would certainly raise some eyebrows, but Swift is certainly an intriguing prospect. At Georgia, he put up consecutive 1,000-yard seasons in his sophomore and junior years while averaging over 6.0 yards per carry in each season.
But if the Lions are looking for a sturdier, more reliable back than the oft-injured Johnson, I’m not sure Swift is their guy. He’s actually two inches shorter than Johnson at 5-foot-9 and weighs around the same (215). He runs with a physical nature, so his body type is certainly at risk of potentially injury prone. And while he didn’t miss a single game in his three years at Georgia, he did deal with a variety of injuries despite never truly being a workhorse back.
Swift possesses a wide variety of talents, including good acceleration, ball skills to be a legit weapon in the receiving game and a combination of devastating moves and physical dominance.
The question is simply how much do the Lions need a guy like Swift? He carries a lot of the same skill set that Johnson does—and has some of the same concerns, too. Detroit certainly needs some assurance behind Johnson now that the Auburn product has spent time on IR each of his first two seasons. And while Bo Scarbrough is a nice complement as a physical runner, he, too, has injury concerns and just a six-game sample of his abilities in the NFL.
Many would want the Lions to go somewhere on defense with their second-round pick. Perhaps Penn State’s edge defender Yetur Gross-Matos (9.5 sacks in 2019) or Utah corner Jaylon Johnson (7 career INTs). Others, myself included, believe very few running backs are worthy of an investment this high considering the short shelf life and their dependency on a good offensive line.
Regardless, running back is truly an underrated need for this team, and considering their fondness of running the ball, I wouldn’t put this outcome outside the realm of possibilities.