Detroit Lions: Running Back power rankings heading into 2020

Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /
2 of 4
D'Andre Swift, Detroit Lions
D’Andre Swift, Georgia Bulldogs (Photo by Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images) /

1a. D’Andre Swift

Part of me wanted to put Swift up at the top from day one, but admittedly that would be getting way ahead of ourselves and only be a setup for a big disappointment. I’m not sure this cop-out “1a” is much better, which is to say that like it or not, Swift will have the burden of living up to his last name and potentially running away with the team’s top running back spot as rookie.

So what makes D’Andre Swift worth getting this excited about? Haven’t we learned our lesson by now (see this Ameer Abdullah article, which looks like a bad joke at “The Onion” with five years of hindsight)? And besides, wasn’t I the one clamoring for JK Dobbins instead of Swift leading up to the draft anyway (Yes, I was)?

  • While not the first back taken off the board, Swift was the consensus highest graded running back of a very solid draft class.
  • Swift showed strong production among some extremely talented backfields while at Georgia (Nick Chubb, Sony Michel) and averaged nearly seven yards a carry over three years in the SEC.
  • His 4.48 forty time at the Combine won’t jump out at you, but Swift’s highlight reel shows a guy whose in game speed is faster and with plenty of nuance. He has outstanding vision, shiftiness and instincts, and at 212 pounds, can break a few tackles and churn out yardage up the middle when needed as well.

In contrast to Kerryon Johnson’s very upright running style, which exposes him to bigger hits, Swift’s compact frame and level make him a smaller target and less of an injury threat, at least in theory. Swift is both faster and quicker than Kerryon and it really wouldn’t surprise me if he becomes the man in the backfield by the end of the season. The best case scenario, of course, is for this SEC duo to combine into the best Lions backfield that we’ve seen in a long time.