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Georgia running back D’Andre Swift (7) flashes a smile. The game finishes with Georgia topping Notre Dame by a score of 23-17. (Photo/ Ryan Cameron, rcameron@randb.com)

Former Georgia running back D’Andre Swift lasted until the second day of the 2020 NFL Draft where he was drafted by the Detroit Lions with the 35th overall pick. After his selection, Swift spoke to media members on a conference call and discussed his future as a Lion. Here are takeaways from The Red & Black:

Expected role

As the second running back taken in the draft, Swift has a solid chance to be the Lions’ starting running back in time for the 2020-21 season. He brings a versatile skill set whether with pass blocking, taking direct hand-offs or lining up as a receiver.

Swift said that he is looking forward to showing off his different skills, finding mismatches and getting into open space where he can make plays. The Lions have been in need of a cornerstone running back as they have not had a 1,000-yard rusher since 2013. Although Swift liked the sound of rushing for 1,000 yards, he wasn’t focused on it yet.

“Right now, I’m just looking forward to meeting the team and just competing for whatever role they think is best for me right now,” Swift said.

Future teammates

Of the 255 players selected at the 2020 NFL Draft, 63 players came from SEC schools, the most by any conference. Two of those players — Swift and Kentucky guard Logan Stenberg — joined the Lions. For Swift, he would be battling for a spot at the top of the depth chart against fellow SEC alumni Kerryon Johnson and Bo Scarbrough.

Johnson rushed for 2,494 in his three seasons from 2015-2017 with the Auburn Tigers while Scarbrough rushed for 1,512 yards in three seasons with Alabama. Swift said both running backs had great careers at the collegiate level, and he looks forward to adding to an all-SEC backfield.

“It’s amazing — that just speaks volumes to the conference,” Swift said. “I think some of the best players come through the SEC.”

Swift will be teaming up with former Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford. Stafford has been the Lions’ franchise quarterback for the past 11 seasons, and Swift said he looked forward to meeting him and also building a relationship with the veteran.

Looking back on history

Swift said that he didn’t know much about the Lions organization before being drafted by them. The first player that came to mind about the Lions was his favorite running back of all time, Barry Sanders. Sanders spent all 10 of his seasons with Detroit, rushing for 15,269 yards and 99 touchdowns during his tenure.

Sanders was known for his explosiveness and agility and is considered by many as one of the best running backs of all time. He was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004 and had his No. 20 jersey retired by the Lions.

“Well, everyone would always talk about [Sanders],” Swift said. “I started watching film and highlights and just looking at his stats. [It’s] kind of unbelievable. As I got older, I tried to emulate my game to be like his in any way possible. I just love watching him.”

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