The Detroit Lions selected former Georgia running back D’Andre Swift with the 35th pick in the second round of the NFL draft. Swift joins another former Bulldog, Matthew Stafford, and a talented backfield trio of Kerryon Johnson and Bo Scarbrough in Detroit.
Swift joins Detroit as the fourth Georgia player on the roster with Stafford, Isaac Nauta and John Atkins.
The Lions were not counting on Swift falling to the second-round as he was the top-rated running back on most draft boards. The Kansas City Chiefs chose Clyde Edwards-Helaire with the final pick in the first round, creating an opportunity for the Lions in round two.
"Going to bed last night, he was the guy that was on my mind the most so I was hoping that we could get him and we stood pat there and you never know," Lions general manager Bob Quinn said on a video call with the Detroit Free Press. "The draft’s hard to predict as you guys know, but I felt very fortunate that he was there."
Swift split time with Nick Chubb and Sony Michel his freshman year and then Elijah Holyfield his sophomore season. He was the featured back in 2019-20 while being occasionally spelled by Brian Herrien and Zamir White.
The Lions have a backfield occupied by SEC alumni in Johnson and Scarbrough, both of whom are tough, power running backs. Swift could split the majority of carries with Johnson who already has a long injury history.
Swift will push Johnson for the most carries while finding his role in a competitive backfield. Detroit also drafted another running back in New Mexico State’s Jason Huntley with the 172nd overall pick.
Swift was named to the 2019-20 Coaches’ All-SEC 1st Team and was co-winner of the Vince Dooley Offensive MVP for the Bulldogs. He was Georgia’s leading rusher as a junior with 1,218 yards and seven touchdowns on 196 carries. He added 24 receptions for 216 yards.
Detroit has struggled finding a consistent rushing attack in the last decade. The Lions have selected a running back in the second-round in two of the last three drafts in an attempt to find a franchise-altering back.
Reggie Bush was the last Detroit running back to eclipse 1,000 rushing yards in a season, doing so in 2013. The addition of Swift shows an all-in attitude to fix an inconsistent rushing attack.
The Lions view Swift as a different type of back than Johnson and Scarbrough, according to Quinn. He views them as compliments to each other rather than three players competing for one job.
“[Swift] is really good in the open field,” Quinn told the Detroit Free Press. “Makes guys miss in space. Big-play ability. Catches the ball well out of the backfield. Good route runner. So, different."