D'Andre Swift: Sophomore Slump or Rising Star?
Photo by Raj Mehta/USA Today Sports
I have been following D'Andre Swift's career since he was in high school. While playing for St. Joes Prep in Philadelphia, Swift's biggest rival was my high school, Archbishop Wood. I had front row seats to watch him play. I remember watching and saying to myself "this kid is going to be a star." Swift went on to play at RBU with the Georgia Bulldogs, and on the national stage people were saying what I said in high school: "he is going to be a star."
Swift's time in college and time in the NFL are off to similar starts. In college he had a great opportunity to play behind veterans Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. The learned the college game from them and when they left for the NFL, Swift took over and was absolutely dominate. In the NFL, he was immediately thrown into the RB1 on Detroit's roster. Even if he was the lead back, he had the season to learn and grow alongside future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson. What a great opportunity. Rookie RB gets to learn the NFL alongside one of the game's best.
Swift's rookie season started very slow, however throughout the season he showed many glimpses of stardom. In week 6, he became the first Lion since Barry Sanders to rush for 100+ yards and 2 TD's. During his game against Washington, Swift had 149 yards and a receiving touchdown. In Week 15, Swift racked up 80+ yards and two TD's. He was injured in part of the season, but these bright glimpses will make Detroit fans happy!
This is not my comparison, but remember how not as dominate Derrick Henry was his rookie season and now is the game's best RB? D'Andre Swift has the potential to have a similar progression in his skills. Both players showed glimpses of stardom in their rookie seasons, but neither proved to be a top tier RB. Henry went on to be a star, and with how the stars aligned for Swift so can he.
When you watch Swift, you can see the high ceiling of potential. Some say he was the shiftiest RB in the entire 2020 class and he truly is. Check out his official highlights courtesy of the Detroit Lions!
Can you feel the excitement of this video or are you normal? I love watching him play. Everything looks and feels so natural to him.
New Coaching System
Swift hit the lottery with his new offensive coordinator and running backs coach in Detroit!
Photo by Detroit Lions/DetroitLions.com
Let me start with running backs coach Duce Staley. In my opinion, Duce Staley is the best RBs coach in the NFL and is very close to getting the opportunity to run his own team. Miles Sanders entered the NFL with the Eagles and immediately took off and became a star. LeSean McCoy was a good RB before Staley was hired in Philly. LeSean McCoy became the game's best RB under Staley.
There have been numerous players who Staley coach that said he was the best coach they'd ever played for! LeGarrette Blount had countless RBs coaches and was always a solid NFL RB. He has been on record saying Staley is the best coach he has ever had. When the Eagles fired Doug Pederson, defensive players said he should be hired. This shows the impact he makes on player in the locker room.
Photo by Detroit Lions/DetroitLions.com
D'Andre Swift's best quality is his ability to transition to the slot with ease or a play action pass to him. New OC Anthony Lynn must be ecstatic. Lynn loves running the ball, but he also loves throwing the ball to the RB. Swift's "hot hands" will help bring a spark to the offense. Lynn is a great play caller with his RBs. Austin Ekeler seemed to have success on every play that was designed for him.
With Duce Staley's incredible resume of RB talent and Anthony Lynn's play calling, D'Andre Swift has to be ecstatic. If Staley can do what he did with McCoy and Sanders, we will see a giant spike in Swift's talent. I always say talent is only valuable if you know how to properly use the talent. Anthony Lynn has a proven track record of knowing how to incorporate a pass catching RB into an offense.
If you are a fan of The Cut, you probably love fantasy football. So therefore, lets talk some fantasy. If you have a share of D'Andre Swift in dynasty or a keeper league, keep a tight hold on that. If you look at Detroit's offense, they do not have much for new QB Jared Goff. The Lions best receiver is TE TJ Hockenson. Since their only receiver is actually a TE, the value on Swift just sky rocketed!
New Head Coach Dan Campbell and Anthony Lynn both said Swift is a 3 down back. With Goff's lack of weapons, he will have to rely heavily on Swift.
Anthony Lynn has had some great fantasy RBs who played for him. Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler were both top 10 RBs under Lynn. I expect for Swift to do exactly what Gordon and Ekeler were able to do! Swift has a similar play style to Ekeler and with the lack of weapons for Goff, I expect Swift to be used tremendously. It does not matter if you are in a re-draft league or dynasty. Make sure you can get Swift onto your roster.
The sophomore slump is unavoidable for some players. D'Andre Swift will not need to worry. He is poised for a breakthrough season. Swift is in an absolute perfect scenario. He had the chance to learn his rookie season alongside one of the greatest players of all time. Now entering his 2nd season, he has a dream coaching scenario for a RB and a coach with a proven track record of developing talent and an OC that knows how to use talent.
I have seen him play on every level of football. From high school to college to the NFL. He has done 1 thing, and that is light up the field. He lived in the shadows of other rookie RBs like Clyde Edwards-Helaire, James Robinson, Jonathan Taylor, Antonio Gibson, and Cam Akers. I expect some of those players to have a nice wake-up call with the sophomore slump.
Get ready because once D'Andre Swift has gone a full offseason with his new coaches and Jared Goff realizes he literally has no one else, you will have an elite player.