D’Andre Swift gives Detroit Lions fans a reason for hope

D’Andre Swift is the latest in a long line of running backs touted to deliver the Detroit Lions to the Promised Land.

Who was the last running back to post a 1,000-yard rushing season for the Detroit Lions? Any Lions’ fan can tell you it was Reggie Bush back in 2013. Why? Because the team’s lackluster rushing attack has often been the scapegoat as to why this team hasn’t been more successful.

Every running back that wears Honolulu blue and silver is always compared to a single player. That being Hall of Famer Barry Sanders. And his shadow still looms over the franchise today, especially as the rushing attack in Detroit continues to toil in mediocrity.

Since Bush last posted that 1,000-yard milestone, several others have been deemed the next rushing savior for the Motor City. In 2014, Joique Bell recorded 860 rushing yards in Jim Caldwell’s first season. The following year, Detroit used a second-round selection on Ameer Abdullah. Three years later, the Lions used another second-rounder on Kerryon Johnson.

Now, the latest runner to be labeled the next running game messiah in Detroit has arrived. And his name is D’Andre Swift. Selected once again with a second-round pick, Swift arrives in the Motor City as arguably the top running back prospect in his entire draft class.

Selected 35th overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, Swift posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons during his final two years at Georgia. Last season, he racked up 1,218 rushing yards and seven touchdowns while averaging an impressive 6.2 yards per carry.

Swift is also an standout receiver out of the backfield, reportedly only dropping a mere three passes in his entire college career. He recorded a total of 73 receptions and five scores over his three seasons with the Bulldogs.

Does D’Andre Swift give Detroit Lions fans a legit reason for hope?

So why should Lions’ fans believe Swift will be the running back to finally deliver them to the Promised Land? Here’s what Cynthia Frelund, NFL Network Analytics Expert, wrote about Swift via NFL.com after selecting him as one of her top value picks during Day Two of the NFL draft back in April.

“My model has Swift rated as the No. 1 RB in the 2020 draft. The Georgia back’s college tape showed exceptional production that forecasts for a short learning curve in his transition to the NFL. … Take a deep breath, Lions fans, there’s legit reason for hope in the run game.”

Coming off two lackluster seasons under head coach Matt Patricia, were the Lions have won a total of just nine games, fans need all the hope they can get. Yet, for many, it’s an I’ll believe it when I see it-type situation. But if that short learning curve allows Swift to have a breakout performance as a rookie in Motown, he’ll certainly begin to turn those doubters into believers.

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Like the running backs that have come before him, D’Andre Swift has to carry more than just the football during his rookie season with the Detroit Lions. He’ll also carry the weight of lofty expectations and fan hope that he can be the missing piece for a beloved franchise that’s struggled to find playoff success since the days of Barry Sanders.