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4 Q’s with Dawg Sports: The Detroit Lions ‘may have gotten a steal’ with D’Andre Swift

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Getting to know the Lions’ new running back.

NCAA Football: SEC Championship-Georgia vs Louisiana State Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Most everyone had their ideas of what the Lions were going to do in this draft down to a science. They were going to go out and get Jeff Okudah and then pad the defensive line in the second round. When Iowa’s A.J. Epenesa was sitting right there when the Lions went on the clock with the 35th pick, it made perfect sense that they'd go that way after missing out on the Chase Young sweepstakes.

Instead, the Lions nabbed the best running back in the draft to many’s surprise. Initially, I think some fans hated on the pick. After all, the Lions just took Kerryon Johnson in the second round two years ago and have an up-and-comer in Bo Scarbrough. Why do they need a running back?

Well, so far Johnson hasn’t played a full season, and nobody truly knows if Scarbrough is really any good just yet. With D’Andre Swift, the Lions could suddenly have a very deadly running back that can pair with Johnson, who can be pretty deadly himself when healthy. I’m not sure where that leaves Scarbrough at the moment. But this appears to be a pretty good group here.

It’s slowly starting to occur to some—at least to me—that while Okudah is a stud and will probably be very good, the Lions biggest move will probably wind up being D’Andre Swift.

I’m sure most have spent their days since the draft watching highlights of Swift. I know I have. But we wanted to learn more about Swift. So we went to our friend MaconDawg of Dawg Sports for some info. Here’s what he had to say. I think you’ll like it.

What are your thoughts on Swift’s time at Georgia?

“If there’s a single word to sum up Swift’s UGA career it would be “productive.” He averaged 7.63 yards per carry as a freshman backing up Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, then eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark as a sophomore and junior. For his career, he finished with 666 yards receiving on 63 catches. All told, he found the end zone 25 times in 43 games despite battling injuries both early in 2018 and at the end of 2019.”

What are his strengths?

“D’Andre has phenomenal vision, especially in the open field where he is as good as anyone at making a cut and getting up field efficiently. His 4.48 40 (yard dash) from the NFL Combine hints at his excellent speed. Swift is one of those tailbacks who’s faster than whoever you’ve got chasing him, getting to the end zone most of the time when he gets up into the secondary with a head of steam.

Swift’s major differentiator as a tailback however is his skill in the passing game. Swift catches the ball well over the middle. He also runs crisp routes for a tailback. A lot of Bulldog fans actually thought Swift would end up in Kansas City with the final pick in the first round due to his skill fit with the Chiefs’ multiple weapon offense (they went with LSU’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire). Their loss is Detroit’s gain.”

What are his weaknesses?

Swift likely would have been off the board sooner but for some concerns about durability, as well as some fumble issues. As noted above, he wasn’t 100% for parts of each of the past two seasons, though the Georgia staff was cagey about the extent of his nagging injuries in both instances. It will be interesting to see how he holds up through the rigors of an NFL season.

While Swift didn’t fumble once during his 2018 sophomore season, he fumbled three times just in November of his senior season (once against Auburn and twice against Georgia Tech). None of those fumbles cost his team. But it was a worrying development for some teams.”

This pick was a big surprise. Did the Lions overdraft? Or do they have a potential steal here in the second round?

“If D’Andre Swift can stay healthy he’ll provide a multi-dimensional weapon for the Lions offense. That really is the key variable. If Detroit is looking for a guy who can open up their offense and give Matt Stafford both a 15 carry a game tailback and an additional receiving threat, I think they may have gotten a steal.”