Detroit selected D’Andre Swift in the second round and plan for him to be the long-term RB, despite Kerryon Johnson being drafted just two years ago. He’s already listed as the team’s top back on the depth chart heading into the preseason. During his three seasons at Georgia he averaged 6.6 yards per carry and turned 73 receptions into a 9.1 yard per catch average. Lions’ fans may have to do a double take as Swift is built like Barry Sanders. At just 5’8”, he’ll be hard for defenses to see behind the massive O-line, but he packs a lot into his 212-pound frame.
In college Swift never had the opportunity to be the Bulldogs workhorse and likely won’t get that opportunity, at least early on, in Detroit. While Johnson has been injury-prone, he’s been a decent RB when in the lineup, which means a RBBC approach will likely be in the cards. Even though the Lions keep trying to have a balanced offense, Matthew Stafford, when healthy, puts the ball in the air often, which means Swift will need to pick up the pass blocking schemes if he wants to remain on the field.
With the short offseason, Swift will have a limited time to learn the offense, so expect Johnson, as long as he’s healthy, to remain a vital part of the Lions’ rushing attack. Once the rookie starts seeing the bulk of the playing time, he has a chance to be a top-20 fantasy RB, especially in future years. However, with the crowded backfield of young players Swift is in an iffy situation for the season. If Detroit falls out of playoff contention his workload could increase over the second half of year.