D’Andre Swift had the worst rushing average between the tackles of any RB in 2021

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D’Andre Swift is a valuable NFL running back, make no mistake about that. But like all players, the third-year Lions RB has his strengths and weaknesses.

One of Swift’s issues is running between the tackles. He’s not a physical runner despite being a well-built 211 pounds at 5-foot-9, his Lions listings. Swift also needs some space to use his quickness and burst, and that just doesn’t come easily in the middle of the field.

He really struggled to make things happen between the tackles in 2021. In fact, no RB averaged less yards per carry up the middle than Swift did. Among the 33 RBs with at least 53 attempts, Swift’s 3.0 YPC was the worst. He’s over two full yards behind the No. 2 man on the list, Denver’s Melvin Gordon.

The leaderboard and bottom of the ladder, from NFL Inside Edge:

Don’t blame the Lions’ blocking, either. Both Jamaal Williams and Craig Reynolds averaged over 4.1 YPC up the middle for Detroit in 2021.

Finding where Swift wins and succeeds and putting him in more of those situations is another way the Lions can upgrade an offense that finished 25th in scoring and 22nd in yardage.

So where does Swift thrive as a runner? Look to his left…

Chart from NFL Inside Edge