It has been a slow start for D’Andre Swift in Detroit. The rookie second-round pick out of Georgia only had 12 rushes for 42 yards and a touchdown coming into Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Thanks to a stout performance from Swift, the Lions walked away with a 34-16 win to get to 2-3 on the season.
Swift led the offense in touches with 14 carries and three receptions. He turned those opportunities into 123 total yards (116 rushing, seven receiving) and two rushing scores. His 8.3-yards per carry almost tripled the next highest player for Detroit, which was surprisingly quarterback Matthew Stafford (2.8).
Granted, almost half (54) of those yards came on one rush from Swift, but he still averaged 4.8 yards with his other 13 carries.
.@dandreswift on the move for 54 yards!
— NFL (@NFL) October 18, 2020
Late free agent signee Adrian Peterson out-carried Swift 15 to 14, but the future Hall of Famer wasn’t nearly as effective (2.7 yards per carry).
So, does this all mean that Swift is finally trending in the right direction? Is it finally time for him to become the focal point of Detroit’s run game over Peterson and fellow former SEC running back Kerryon Johnson?
It’s hard to tell. After starting the season 0-2, the Lions have won two of the last three games. That one defeat was a six-point loss to the New Orleans Saints in Week 4. In other words, things might be trending in the right direction.
Granted, the Jaguars (1-5) are nothing to write home about. But being held to only 275 total yards and 44 rushing yards means the defense might be ready to help what has the potential to be a very good offense in Detroit.
And Swift is going to need to be a big part of that.
There’s potential there for the 5-foot-9, 215-pounder to be a three-down running back moving forward. There are still things that need to be cleaned up. There are still nuances to playing the position in the NFL that need to be learned. But Swift’s ceiling is up there.
Despite fall to pick No. 35 back in April, there were a lot of draft analyst who felt like Swift was a first-round talent. Injuries were somewhat of a concern. But his physical style mixed with top-notch explosiveness, body control and play-making ability out of backfield make him an attractive option moving forward.
Detroit will more than likely continue to take the committee approach with its running backs. Swift should be the headliner of that group more often than not, however. Mix him with wide receiver Kenny Golladay and tight end T.J. Hockenson, and the Lions have a nice collection of young weapons moving forward.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.