Detroit Lions: Running back D’Andre Swift fell right into Bob Quinn’s lap

(Photo by Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images) /

Star running back D’Andre Swift fell right into the Detroit Lions lap in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft.

We’ll never know the real truth in this, if this was planned by Detroit Lions General Manager (GM) Bob Quinn or if it was an impulse decision to select running back D’Andre Swift with the 35th overall pick in the NFL Draft.

Many expected the Detroit Lions to target an edge rusher after landing corner Jeff Okudah in the first round.  Despite failing to trade back in the first round, acquiring additional draft capital, and still choosing Okudah, a few picks later.  That’s where Quinn failed, and some of his later-round picks are somewhat questionable when you consider who the Lions left on the table.

Everything was lining up perfectly for the Detroit Lions to decide between Yetur Gross-Matos or A.J. Epenesa.  Oddly enough, Quinn decided to leave both standout edge rushers on the board, instead sending shock waves throughout the league when he chose to select Swift instead.

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I didn’t think Quinn had it in him to go away from the ‘Patriot Way’ and take the best player available or was this exactly the new ‘Patriot’ way?  New England selected running back Sony Michel with the 31st pick in the first round of the 2018 draft out of the same university as Swift, Georgia.  So perhaps, selecting Swift is precisely what Bill Belichick would have done.  We’ll never know for sure if Detroit was targeting a back at 35 in general or just Swift; would Quinn have selected Dobbins or Taylor at 35 if Swift was gone?

Swift, a standout running back, spent most of his college career behind Michel and Nick Chubb yet still amassed 2885 rushing yards, 666 receiving yards, and 25 touchdowns on just 513 offensive touches, good for an average of 6.9 yards per play.

In an article written by Tim Twentyman, Executive producer and analyst for NFL Matchup and senior producer at NFL Films Greg Cosell breaks down Swift’s film.

"“Swift is one of the top running backs in the 2020 draft class with his excellent combination of traits. He has extensive experience as an I-back and predominantly ran zone concepts at Georgia both inside and outside. Swift has an outstanding feel for the tempo and pace of the zone run game with his patience and vision and his understanding of defensive fronts both before the snap and their fluidity after the snap.“He has high level lateral quickness and short area burst and acceleration with the ability to make sharp decisive cuts at the second and third levels without losing velocity or speed. My sense is Swift can be highly effective as a receiver both out of the backfield and detached from the formation.“As I projected Swift to the NFL, two players came to mind: Dalvin Cook and Alvin Kamara. I think Swift has traits and attributes that will allow him to be used in a similar way in outside zone run game as the foundation with the ability to be effective as a receiver in multiple ways.”As for weaknesses, Cosell described Swift as more quick that fast, and though Swift runs hard and tough inside, Cosell said Swift isn’t necessarily a strong and powerful runner."

Although Clyde Edwards-Helaire became the first running back off the board, I considered Swift as the best back available.  I’m confident saying that the Detroit Lions just secured their best running back since Barry Sanders.

I don’t dislike Kerryon Johnson, but his inability to remain healthy has opened the door for Swift to walk in and be the Lions feature back as early as week one of the regular season.  Johnson, who seemed taken back when Detroit decided to draft two backs in the draft, taking to Twitter and posted a comment that read, ” Am I missing something?”

In fact, according to BetMGM, Swift is only behind Joe Burrow to win the 2020 offensive player of the year.  That means Vegas, who is generally correct, expects Swift to step in and be the lead back in Detroit.

light. More. 2020 season will all hinge on Matthew Stafford’s back

It will be the first time in his career that quarterback Matthew Stafford will have a true lead back-type talent in the backfield.  The Detroit offense with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell at the helm will be explosive and fun to watch.