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Instant Draft Reaction: Lions Pick RB D’Andre Swift

By: Trey Rodgers
By: Trey Rodgers

Detroit Lions Columnist

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D’Andre Swift’s Fit in Detroit

With a variety of ways to go in round two, the Detroit Lions chose to shore up the run game by selecting the top running back on the board, D’Andre Swift. Rushing for over 1000 yards in each of the last two seasons at Georgia, Swift brings proven talent to Detroit, who has consistently lacked production at the running back position. After selecting RB Kerryon Johnson in round two of the 2018 draft, Johnson has shown flashes of his talent but also has been placed on the Injured Reserve list multiple times. After his injury this previous season, the Lions lacked a real go-to player at running back. As a result, their offense missed that element of attack down the stretch.

Swift is an explosive back who is able to run in outside zone schemes, but can also be shifty between the linemen given his somewhat smaller stature. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell is also known for his strong usage of the run game from his time in Seattle, so there will definitely be significant sets made for Swift in Detroit. As the league is moving further away from bell cow backs, and towards committees, Swift will be a great addition to the Lions’ offense, which was clicking on all fronts with QB Matthew Stafford at the helm last season. At best, the Lions get their new RB1 with this pick, leading to their offense being significantly more dangerous, unpredictable, and exciting. At worst, should Kerryon miss time again, Swift can step in and maintain the flow of the offense well.

For our instant draft reaction to the Lions pick in round 1, click here

Kerryon and Swift are ultimately fairly similar running backs, with both not relying on power as much as quickness and lateral movement. Both can play a role in the passing game as well, with similar reception numbers being shared between them. The Lions could very well develop a strong committee here with the addition of Swift. Often being compared to the San Francisco 49ers, in terms of the similarity between season happenings for both teams (losing starting qb, getting top pick), the Lions might just be hoping to replicate the 49ers committee success from the 2019 season. The 49ers gave significant snaps at running back to players like Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, and Matt Breida.

If the Lions enter 2020 with a running back corps of Kerryon Johnson, D’Andre Swift, and either Bo Scarbrough or Ty Johnson, the Lions would surely have a committee to be feared in the NFC North.

Instant Draft Grade: B

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Fantasy Impact

D’Andre Swift in Redraft Leagues

With this pick, there will definitely be significant impacts to the fantasy football world. After being the team’s primary back for the last two seasons, Kerryon Johnson will likely see his role split in two this season, if not more. Projected as a top 50 pick in redraft leagues, Johnson will surely see his Average Draft Position plummet. Just how far he falls in drafts will remain to be seen, but Swift’s arrival in Detroit certainly should cause Johnson to lose a lot of value he once had. Swift himself should garner instant attention in the middle to early rounds. Swift is a top tier talent that should be rostered come week one due to his immense boom potential. Much like the rookie running back successes we’ve seen from players like Josh Jacobs and Miles Sanders, D’Andre Swift has a chance to be of similar value for redraft leagues.

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D’Andre Swift in Dynasty Leagues

For dynasty leagues, Swift is a name that should be right at the top of most people’s draft boards. With running backs and wide receivers being the name of the game, expect Swift to have an instant impact for a team looking to win now. Given the injury history with Johnson, Swift has a significant chance to become the primary back for Detroit, if he is not already in that role outright. As a team, in 2019 the Lions were around the middle of the pack in terms of yards gained via rushing, and that was without Johnson for a great portion of the season. With Swift in the mix, expect this statistic for Detroit to rise, increasing Swift’s value. Widely regarded as the top running back in this draft, dynasty leagues should see Swift taken very early.

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