D’Andre Swift: Why holes in his rookie game tape hurt his production projections

·2 min read

Lions fans have high hopes for second-year running back D’Andre Swift. But an in-depth review of Swift’s rookie year and athletic profile pours a little salt into the Honolulu blue Kool-Aid.

Matt Waldman of Football Guys wrote out a thorough breakdown of Swift and how he projects for Detroit in his second season. In his ongoing series The Gut Check, Waldman offers a measured, balanced breakdown of Swift through the lenses of both a fantasy football perspective and a draft evaluation/review sensibility.

Among Waldman’s points, some of which many Lions fans won’t necessarily want to hear but need to respect:

  • Swift lacks great acceleration

  • Very good at making defenders miss initially

  • He tried too hard to copy Adrian Peterson’s jump cut

  • Lapses in vision jump off his tape

Football Guys does this to evaluate fantasy prospects, and Waldman’s piece is designed to rationalize why Swift doesn’t belong as a top-15 fantasy football RB. Swift is currently RB No. 21 in average draft position in completed fantasy drafts this offseason.

I reached out to Waldman to see if he had any words for Lions fans who might get flustered by a projection that doesn’t include Swift near the top.

“There’s no doubt that Swift could emerge as a production leader for the Lions,” Waldman said. “Chiefs fans felt the same about Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Last year, I studied Edwards-Helaire and noted points about his game, the Kansas City scheme, and the surrounding talent that would keep him out of the top 10 in production at his position. When it comes to this high of a production bar, talent isn’t enough, especially when taking into account the scheme, personnel, and Swift’s 2020 film. At this point, there’s enough variability of outcome that I’d rather presume he’ll do good work but fall short of the top tier.”

Waldman did note in the article why it’s such a good idea to pair him with between-the-tackles pounder, Jamaal Williams. It’s certainly a worthwhile read from one of the most respected tape evaluators around.