The Detroit Lions may have landed the Rookie of the Year in the second round
After landing one of the top defensive prospects in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions stole one of the top offensive weapons in the entire class in the second. Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah and Georgia running back D’Andre Swift could be the keys to turning the 3-12-1 Lions into a playoff contender in a single season.
Both rookies fill major needs for Detroit. The Lions traded away three-time Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay in the offseason. With the selection of Okudah third overall, Motown replaces the 29-year old Slay with a top-tier prospect who is eight years his junior.
Swift’s addition was a much bigger surprise as the Lions used a second-round pick in 2018 on Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson. And while the former Tiger has been impressive in spurts, knee injuries have limited him to 18 game appearances over his first two seasons.
The addition of Swift not only gives the Lions some insurance at the position but potentially the top offensive weapon of the entire draft class in 2020. Over the past two years at Georgia, Swift racked up a combined 2,267 rushing yards, 21 total touchdowns, 56 receptions, and averaged 6.3 yards per carry during that span.
Detroit Lions might have landed themselves the league top offensive rookie
Here’s what NFL Draft media analyst Lance Zierlein wrote recently on NFL.com after ranking Swift third on his NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year candidates list after Cincinnati Bengals quarterback, Joe Burrow, and Kansas City Chiefs running back, Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
"“Swift deserved more run in conversations about the top offensive players in the 2020 draft … Swift enters the NFL with plenty of tread still on the tires. He features outstanding vision and change-of-direction efficiency to make the most of what is blocked for him. His team might not win as many games as Edwards-Helaire’s this season, but his numbers could look similar.”"
Over the past ten years, four running backs have been selected by the Associated Press as the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. The other winners were five quarterbacks and one wide receiver.
The last time the Detroit Lions had a player win the OROY award it was running back Barry Sanders back in 1989. Obviously no one is comparing Sanders with D’Andre Swift. But the Lions’ newest rookie runner could help Detroit achieve something it hasn’t since the beloved Hall of Famer roamed the backfield. That’s winning a playoff game.