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Friday open thread: Where does D’Andre Swift rank among NFL running backs?

The second-year back has a lot of potential, but must prove his value on the field.

New Orleans Saints v Detroit Lions Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Pro Football Focus released their top 32 running backs ahead of the 2021 season, and it was a little surprising to see D’Andre Swift left off the list. While it was not the biggest rookie season by any means, all arrows are trending up for the former second-rounder under a new Detroit Lions coaching staff.

Swift has yet to enter into the top tier of rushers in the league, but it seems a little strange to exclude him from the top 32 entirely. Sure, his 521 rushing yards were fairly modest last season, but he was tied for 15th with eight touchdowns and offers some real value in the passing game as well.

Today’s Question of the Day is:

Where does D’Andre Swift rank among NFL running backs?

My answer: Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, and Alvin Kamara are multi-dimensional threats that Swift may someday replicate, but is certainly a step behind right now. He is also not the same type of force as players like Derrick Henry, Dalvin Cook, Ezekiel Elliott, or Nick Chubb. Furthermore, his rookie season was a bit disappointing compared to Jonathan Taylor, J.K. Dobbins, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Antonio Gibson, and even Cam Akers.

So that is a dozen running backs, at least, who should be listed ahead of Swift, but I think he has a great argument for the next grouping. It is completely reasonable for him to finish the season within the top 20, and at the very least he will certainly prove that he belongs in the top 32. Stats are not everything, but to gain national respect he will need to start racking up some more yardage.

Your turn.