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Analyst: Lions' D'Andre Swift a top offensive rookie of the year candidate

The Detroit News

The Detroit Lions boast a potential strong 1-2 backfield punch in the form of Kerryon Johnson and D'Andre Swift.

It's possible Swift, selected by the Lions in the second round of the NFL Draft, could pack a wallop all on his own.

The Lions selected Georgia running back D'Andre Swift in the second round of the NFL Draft.

The former Georgia star ranks third among NFL.com's top offensive rookie of the year candidates, posted Wednesday.

Quarterback Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals, and Kansas Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire lead NFL.com's field.

Swift ran for 1,218 yards and seven touchdowns last season, averaging 6.2 yards per carry. He added another 216 yards and a score on 24 receptions. He'll join Johnson, another former second-round pick out of the Southeastern Conference, in forming the Lions' new running back tandem.

"Swift deserved more run in conversations about the top offensive players in the 2020 draft," writes Lance Zierlein, a draft analyst for NFL.com. " ... While Matthew Stafford has filled up stat sheets on a consistent basis during his 11 seasons, Detroit hasn't won a playoff game since the 1991 campaign, and the team's running-game woes have been a main culprit for that drought in the past two decades. 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."

In a conference call with reporters in June, Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell lauded Swift's versatility, and durability, saying "he can handle as much as you want to give him."

 “We feel like he’s a really talented, well-rounded running back" Bevell told reporters. "A guy you feel like could handle the run, but he has ability in the pass game where you could do some things with him there. So, really, just a complete guy. …"

And, as for Johnson, who likely will be splitting carries with Swift? He seems good with it, calling Swift a "phenomenal" player during a call last month with reporters

Johnson averaged 5.4 yards per carry as a rookie in 2018, but that production slipped last season, where he averaged just 3.6 per carry. His first two NFL seasons have been hampered by injuries, limiting him to 18 games combined.