Detroit Lions: Home of the next ‘Double Trouble’ backfield?

Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images) /

Will Detroit Lions’ Kerryon Johnson and D’Andre Swift be next ‘Double Trouble’ backfield?

The Detroit Lions have a promising, if often injured, third-year running back in Kerryon Johnson on the roster. They went out and drafted a first-round talent at running back early in the second round with D’Andre Swift. Are they the next ‘Double Trouble?’

A very similar situation happened back in 2008 when the Carolina Panthers had third-year running back DeAngelo Williams on the roster and also selected Jonathan Stewart in the first round. The combo quickly earned the “Smash and Dash” which was later changed to ‘Double Trouble’ as their success continued to mount.

Not only do the years they were drafted seem to be fitting the same timeline as Johnson and Swift, but the talent of both players seem to be there as well. Recently, Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said of Swift via …

"“We feel like [Swift’s] a really talented, well-rounded running back … really just a complete guy.”"

This is notable because when Williams was with the Panthers, Stewart came and really made Williams push to keep his starting role. A similar thing might be happening with Swift and Johnson. Johnson has already come out and said he’s happy to have Swift on the roster. Maybe that’s because he knows that steel sharpens steel and Swift’s presence will make him fight harder to be better.

How do Johnson and Williams stack up to the Detroit Lions duo?

If we compare Johnson to Williams in just their first two seasons, their stats are very comparable with Johnson playing in 11 fewer games. Johnson posted 1,044 yards and six touchdowns in 18 games. Williams put up 1,218 yards and five touchdowns in 29 games. What happened the following year when Stewart came to town? Williams exploded for 1,515 yards and 18 touchdowns!

Now, we know Johnson and Williams are different players. But it’s worth noting this tweet from PFF where Johnson just misses out on being top four on this list:

This shows that Johnson is no slouch in his own right. If he can stay healthy, he could be capable of a third-year explosion in production similar to Williams, especially with Swift pushing him to be better. Drafting Swift not only helps Johnson, but it also helps this entire Detroit Lions team if they both ball out like they’ve shown they can be capable of.

It should be noted that in his rookie season, Stewart put up 836 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Panthers. If you’ve got high expectations for Swift, keep them high because it’s very possible he accomplishes the feat.

Williams and Stewart enjoyed success in Carolina for six years together before Williams left the team for Pittsburgh. In those six seasons, they accounted for 71 touchdowns and three playoff appearances, including Stewart’s rookie season in 2008 when the team won 12 games.

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This is a fun comparison for these Detroit Lions to try and repeat a similar situation in Motown. The deck is stacked is a very similar manner for the 2020 season. The only question remaining is, what will be this new duo’s nickname?