Detroit Lions: D’Andre Swift primed for breakout second season

D'Andre Swift #32 of the Detroit Lions (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
D'Andre Swift #32 of the Detroit Lions (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

For years, the Detroit Lions struggled to provide a consistent rushing attack to support one of the NFL’s best passing offenses reliant on the arm of quarterback Matthew Stafford. Ironically, the Lions running game could finally find its legs without Stafford under center.

Spending their third second-round selection on a running back since 2015, the Lions’ acquisition of D’Andre Swift last year could finally provide the team with its first 1,000-yard rusher since Reggie Bush eight years ago. Limited to only four starts as a rookie, Swift rushed for 521 yards and eight rushing touchdowns. He also brought in 46 receptions for 357 yards and two more scores through the air.

Heading into his second season in the Motor City, Swift should become the weapon of choice for the Lions’ offense now that Stafford has been traded away and quarterback Jared Goff sits in his place. That fact has been reinforced following the results of the draft and a recent contract extension.

The Lions used their first-round selection to this year’s draft on Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell with the seventh overall pick. Sewell is expected to start at right tackle. Combined with Pro Bowl center Frank Ragnow, left tackle Taylor Decker, and left guard Jonah Jackson, the O-line in Motown is now formidable.

Here’s how’s Tim Twentyman answered a recent mailbag question when asked about the numbers Swift might put up in his sophomore campaign.

"“Man, D’Andre Swift had to be one of the happiest players on the roster the last couple weeks seeing the team solidify their offensive line with the drafting of Sewell and then with the extension of center Frank Ragnow a couple days later … I think conservatively, the benchmark for Swift should be 1,500 total yards.”"

On top of the Lions beefing up the offensive line in front of Swift, Detroit also hired an offensive coordinator who’s a former NFL running back himself. As the former head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers, Anthony Lynn helped to make running back Melvin Gordon a 1,000-yard rusher in 2017.

Over his 21-year NFL coaching career, Lynn has also worked with running backs like LeSean McCoy, Shonn Greene, Thomas Jones, Jamal Lewis, Julius Jones, and Fred Taylor. And he helped each of them break that 1,000-yard milestone as well. Will Swift be next?

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With Anthony Lynn as his new offensive coordinator, one of the most talented offensive lines in front of him, a new quarterback in Jared Goff under center, and a suspect wide receiver corps; all signs point to D’Andre Swift becoming the unquestioned focal point for the Detroit Lions’ offense in 2021.