Yahoo Sports' top 2020 NFL draft prospects, No. 19: Georgia RB D'Andre Swift

·7 min read
Albert Corona/Yahoo Sports
Albert Corona/Yahoo Sports

19. Georgia RB D’Andre Swift

5-foot-8, 212 pounds

Yahoo Sports draft grade: 6.02 — possible immediate starter

TL;DR scouting report: Elusive, big-play back who has star potential (especially as a receiver) if his touches are managed right.

The skinny: A 4-star Rivals recruit (and top 50 nationally), Swift committed to the Bulldogs over Alabama, Clemson and Penn State and other major programs in the SEC and Big Ten. He played as a true freshman in 2017 despite Nick Chubb and Sony Michel being the team’s feature backs. Even in a crowded backfield, Swift was named to the SEC All-Freshman team with 81 rushes for 618 rushing yards and three TDs, along with 17 catches for 153 yards and one TD in 15 games.

As a sophomore in 2018, Swift split carries with Elijah Holyfield, rushing 163 times for 1,049 yards and 10 touchdowns and caught 32 passes for 297 yards with three scores in 14 games. In 2019, he was named first-team All-SEC, rushing 196 times for 1,218 yards and seven touchdowns and catching 24 passes for 216 yards and one score in 14 games.

Swift, who turned 21 years old in January, declared early for the 2020 NFL draft. He attended the NFL scouting combine, running the 40-yard dash (4.48 seconds) and performing in the jumping drills, skipping the other athletic testing.

Running back D'Andre Swift runs a drill during the NFL scouting combine in February. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Running back D'Andre Swift runs a drill during the NFL scouting combine in February. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Upside: Make-you-miss runner. Creates his own yardage. Vicious plant-and-cut ability in the open field — sudden with little wasted movement (see Auburn game). Outstanding in space — great acceleration and burst and terrific vision to survey the landscape and find the ideal lanes to pay dirt.

Quick feet and good balance — bounces off defenders. Patient, smart runner. Picks and darts through holes. Has a turbo button he can push for quick acceleration. Doesn’t run out of control. Flashes outstanding hesitation move and tempo change as a runner. Sneaky power — fights through creases and breaks arm-tackle attempts.

This run against Tennessee shows what we’re talking about:

Swift can work his way through tiny cracks to find yardage.
Swift can work his way through tiny cracks to find yardage.

Terrific receiving potential — 73 receptions over three seasons on 90 pass attempts. Averaged 9.0 yards per catch or better each of his three seasons. Excellent hands — zero dropped passes in his final 20 college games. Natural feel for getting open and tracking the ball. Effort in pass protection is good — has potential to be above-average in this area. Why the Bulldogs didn’t use him more on wheel routes is a mystery — wasn’t utilized that creatively as a receiver often.

Watch this simple swing pass against Vanderbilt in 2018 where Swift runs past the first defender, turns it back inside and shakes a DB out of his shoes for the touchdown without being touched:

Swift is extremely dangerous in space and can weave his way to daylight.
Swift is extremely dangerous in space and can weave his way to daylight.

Well-balanced skill set overall. Performed well in SEC games against some of the best defenses in college football. Career 6.6-yard rushing average. Operated in a pro-style system with spread concepts. Enters NFL with only 515 touches over three college seasons — plenty of tread left on those tires.

Team captain in 2019. Underrated toughness — fought through several minor injuries every season and seldom missed action.

Downside: Undersized — smaller frame that might be maxed out. Lacks bulk. Short arms and small hands. Likely will need touches managed. Doesn’t possess elite speed. Good but not top-tier athletic testing at the combine.

Injury history, which dates to high school, is worrisome. Has suffered repeated ankle injuries, and also battled toe, groin (bilateral) and shoulder ailments that held him back. Shoulder contusion from last November limited his late-season workload — given only five touches in SEC title game, one in bowl game vs. Baylor.

Falls in love with the spin move — can leave him vulnerable to big shots from second-wave defenders. Will try to kick runs outside too often and leave some meat on the bone. Might not be ideal fit for heavy gap-run teams. A little too stop-and-start on inside runs — doesn’t always power his way to daylight.

Not a true workhorse — only three college games with more than 19 carries and two with 25 or more touches. Ran behind PFF’s No. 1-graded run-blocking offensive line last season. Might need to be paired with a dependable No. 2 to maximize his efficiency.

Slows down on routes when looking back for the ball at times — can drift a bit as a pass catcher. Will need to add some sophistication to his route running. Still needs work in pass pro — will whiff when diving at defenders. Good instincts for the duty, but technique needs work. Little special-teams experience — punt coverage duty for half his freshman season, plus two kick-return attempts in three years.

Best-suited destination: Swift’s receiving ability can’t be undersold or underused in the NFL, so he likely fits as a feature back — but one who likely could use a reliable running mate.

Among the teams we think could be interested in his services include the Kansas City Chiefs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, Atlanta Falcons, Los Angeles Rams, Washington Redskins, Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles Chargers and Arizona Cardinals.

Did you know: Swift’s bond with his family is strong. He’s extremely close with his parents and even continues to honor his late grandfather, Henry Holloway — or as Swift calls him, “Pop-Pop” — by writing his name on wrist tape for every game.

Swift’s father, Darren, attends as many of his son’s games as possible, and he earned national attention after a television shot of him appeared during one of his son’s games displayed dad’s his impressive physique.

They said it: “He’s a tremendous leader. ... I definitely think D’Andre did an unbelievable job in the locker room of commanding respect and wanting the ball, especially in big moments in games. I go back to Notre Dame, I go back to Texas A&M — there were a lot of tight ballgames that he was able to get us get conversions and create open opportunities and explosive plays.

“I mean, you go back to Kentucky, as tough as things were, and he makes two or three runs that were just electric in that game that helped kind of ice it in the second half. I know what kind of competitor he is. I know the NFL scouts know that, but as good as competitor as he is, he’s a better person.”

— Georgia head coach Kirby Smart

Player comp: He reminds me a lot of D’Angelo Williams. But if you want a more recent comp, the Packers’ Aaron Jones works pretty well for his style and size.

Expected draft range: Top-40 pick

Previous prospect rankings: Nos. 100-91 | 90-81 | 80-71 | 70-66 | 65-61 | 60-56 | 55-51 | 50. DT Justin Madubuike | 49. CB Damon Arnette | 48. OT Ezra Cleveland | 47. WR KJ Hamler | 46. CB A.J. Terrell | 45. RB Cam Akers | 44. DL Ross Blacklock | 43. OT Josh Jones | 42. DT Jordan Elliott | 41. C Cesar Ruiz | 40. S Kyle Dugger | 39. EDGE Terrell Lewis | 38. WR Laviska Shenault Jr. | 37. S Grant Delpit | 36. Jonathan Taylor | 35. WR Brandon Aiyuk | 34. EDGE Zack Baun | 33. EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos | 32. CB Jeff Gladney | 31. QB Jordan Love | 30. CB Trevon Diggs | 29. EDGE A.J. Epenesa | 28. RB JK Dobbins | 27. WR Justin Jefferson | 26. WR Tee Higgins | 25. S Xavier McKinney | 24. WR Jalen Reagor | 23. CB Kristian Fulton | 22. RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire | 21. WR Denzel Mims | 20. LB Kenneth Murray | 19. RB D’Andre Swift | 18. QB Justin Herbert | 17. LB Patrick Queen | 16. WR Henry Ruggs III | 15. EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson | 14. WR Jerry Jeudy | 13. OT Mekhi Becton | 12. DT Javon Kinlaw | 11. OT Andrew Thomas | 10. OT Tristan Wirfs | 9. WR CeeDee Lamb | 8. OT Jedrick Wills Jr. | 7. CB CJ Henderson | 6. LB-S Isaiah Simmons | 5. DT Derrick Brown | 4. QB Tua Tagovailoa | 3. CB Jeffrey Okudah | 2. QB Joe Burrow | 1. Chase Young

More from Yahoo Sports: