Reggie Bush. That’s the last Detroit Lions‘ running back to rush for over 1,000 yards in a single season for the Motor City. That’s hard to believe for a team whose greatest player was a running back.
Bush accomplished this feat back in 2013. And he just barely did so racking up 1,006 rushing yards as a 14-game starter. His success on the ground didn’t translate to much winning though as Detroit finished that season with a 7-9 record. Prior to Bush, the Lions hadn’t had anyone break that milestone since Kevin Jones rushed for 1,133 yards in 2004
With the current version of the Pride preparing to enter the 2021 NFL regular season, it’s been a whopping seven years and counting since the Lions fielded a 1,000-yard rusher in the backfield. But it hasn’t been due to a lack of trying.
Since 2013, the Lions have selected a running back in the draft every year with only two exceptions (2014, 2017). Detroit has invested three second-round selections at the position during that same span and has drafted a running back for four years straight.
There’s been a laundry list of former running backs who have tried to break that 1,000-yard milestone in Motown over the past several years. Names like Theo Riddick, Ameer Abdullah, Dwayne Washington, Kerryon Johnson, Joique Bell, Zach Zenner, LeGarrette Blount, Bo Scarbrough, Ty Johnson, Tion Green, J.D. McKissic, and Adrian Peterson have all come and gone without doing so.
Now, the Lions’ next great hope of becoming the team’s first 1,000-yard running back since Bush is D’Andre Swift. A second-round selection by Detroit last year, Swift posted a solid rookie campaign racking up 521 rushing yards and eight touchdowns as a mere four-game starter.
Following a regime change in Detroit and the introduction of a new head coach, coaching staff, and quarterback under center, Swift figures to be the workhorse of new offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn’s offense. Combined with the best offensive line the Lions have featured in years, the 22-year appears to be teed up to have a breakout season in Detroit.
And, apparently, Pro Football Focus agrees. The football analytics website recently projected Swift to break the 1,000-yard milestone for the Lions in 2021 on Twitter.
The Detroit Lions signed veteran running back Jamaal Williams as a free agent and drafted Jermar Jefferson this offseason. Both figure to earn their snaps this season, but don’t appear to be threats to do anything more than support D’Andre Swift in his quest for breaking the 1,000-yard milestone this year. Everything seems to be pointing to the second-year back having a breakout performance in 2021.