The Detroit Lions moved over to the offensive side of the ball for their second-round pick and filled their need at running back.
D’Andre Swift was the second running back off the board in this draft class and a consensus top-three back in the 2020 draft class. He brings some speed and receiving ability to Detroit’s backfield, combining with Bo Scarbrough’s power and Kerryon Johnson’s more well-rounded game.
We all know the Lions are trying to establish the run in Detroit, but was this the right pick for the team this early? Here are my thoughts on the pick:
I just don’t like RBs this early
I wrote an article back in 2018 expressing my frustrations with the Lions taking Kerryon Johnson after a trade up in the second down. I loved Johnson as a prospect, but I hated the idea of taking him that early, especially after a trade up. My three main reasons:
- Running back wasn’t a big enough need to justify a trade up
- Draft resources were already scarce
- Solid defensive players were still on the clock
I could basically write the entirely same piece on this pick, with the exception of the scarcity of draft resources. The Lions still have two third-round picks to add potential starters, so this won’t ruin the entire draft class.
But this does feel like the team not learning from their mistakes. Kerryon Johnson has not worked out thus far, and Detroit just went and repeated their strategy.
Running backs typically don’t see a second contract in today’s NFL, so the Lions just got themselves a four-year rental on a running back, if they’re lucky.
Slight injury concerns, too
Swift hasn’t missed many games due to injuries, but he’s dealt with ankle, shoulder and groin injuries during his time at Georgia. As a 5-foot-8 running back, that’s just going to happen.
So, again, this feels like repeating the same mistake they made two years ago.
The good stuff
Swift just makes people miss. He’s shifty, he’s explosive, and he has the potential to be a huge threat in the passing game, too. He eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing in his two final college seasons and averaged a whopping 6.6 yards per carry during his entire career.
As a prospect, he’s got a ton of talent, and he’s going to be fun to watch in an offense that already has a lot of weapons on it.
This has the looks of a luxury pick all over it. Even putting aside my personal motto of never drafting a running back this high, this just isn’t the kind of need the Lions need to be addressing in the top 40. Iowa defensive end A.J. Epenesa would have provided both more value and filled an immediate need for Detroit. The Lions could’ve gotten a starting guard with Robert Hunt, who went a few picks later. I’m just not a big fan of this move. Grade: D
Grade the selection of D’Andre Swift
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