Predicting how the Detroit Lions will use D’Andre Swift in 2020

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Darrell Bevell, Detroit Lions

Darrell Bevell, Detroit Lions (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

Swift in Bevell’s Offense

Swift brings the talent needed in a workhorse back and can be a weapon both on the ground and through the air. The question is, will offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell commit to giving Swift the premier role or will he insist on splitting carries between him and Kerryon Johnson. Johnson has shown talent and promise but hasn’t been able to stay healthy or make a consistent impact game after game.

There’s only been one instance in Bevell’s long career that might offer some insight into what he could do. In 2006, Bevell had a solid, though not spectacular running back in Minnesota named Chester Taylor. Taylor carried the ball 303 times that year for 1,216 yards and six touchdowns while also catching 42 passes for 288 yards.

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Despite Taylor being a steady and solid running back for them, the Vikings selected Adrian Peterson the draft following the 2006 season. Peterson immediately took over the feature role, carrying the ball for 1,341 yards and 12 touchdowns on 238 carries. He also caught the ball 19 times for over 260 yards and one touchdown.

Taylor, playing second fiddle to Peterson, carried the ball 157 times for 844 yards and seven touchdowns. He tacked on an extra 281 yards through the air.

Between the top two runners, Bevell split the workload (395 carries) almost 60/40 between the two backs, with Peterson getting the majority of the carries. Swift carries neither the hype nor draft capitol Peterson had coming into the NFL so Swift will likely not see 60 percent of the carries between the top two backs.

Also, today’s NFL is much different than it was in 2007. Teams pass much more now and run much less. In 2019, between the top three running backs, the Lions only ran the ball 265 times.

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