There were many impressive rookies who made their debut in the 2020 NFL season.
Despite that, choosing which one to make the biggest jump in prominence in 2021 is easy.
A new coaching staff and quarterback present a lot of upside for Swift.
First, let’s take a look at his 2020 numbers.
D’Andre Swift – 2020 Statistics
Swift appeared in 13 games, starting in 4 of them.
He carried the ball 114 times and gained 521 yards.
Swift scored 8 rushing touchdowns.
He was targeted on 57 passing plays.
Swift caught 46 of those passes and scored 2 receiving touchdowns.
It was a solid start.
1. The Jared Goff Factor
Having Jared Goff as the starting quarterback for the Detroit Lions benefits Swift tremendously.
To begin with, Goff is not as talented a passer as Matthew Stafford.
Also, Goff’s best performances with the Los Angeles Rams were with a healthy Todd Gurley in his backfield.
Swift will be more integral in the Lions’ offensive scheme in 2021 which should improve his performance and the team’s overall performance.
2. New Coaching Staff
If having Goff as his quarterback was not enough of an indicator of what will be expected of Swift in 2021, consider the new coaching staff.
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) February 13, 2021
The Lions’ new assistant head coach and running backs coach Duce Staley talked about Swift last week.
“A lot of people think you got to go have 20 carries as running back to be successful, and sometimes you do. But touches, when you have a good back, an electrifying back, touches are definitely more important. You can get 18 carries and seven touches as far as receptions and you have 25 touches, which is what you want from your star back. When I look at D’Andre, I do think he’s a three-down back and like I said, he has some special traits I can’t wait to get my hands on, so I’m excited about that.”
25 touches in a game is double the workload Swift saw in 2020.
He averaged just under 9 rushes per game and nearly 4 receptions per game.
In weeks with 10+ touches, D'Andre Swift ranked as the RB4 in total PPR points
🗣️FEED D'ANDRE SWIFT pic.twitter.com/k84zham14R
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) February 13, 2021
Swift himself is excited and optimistic for the new direction in Detroit.
On Good Morning Football, he said:
“The talent is there, I think Detroit fans saw that last year. I think we were up almost every game until the end. We just got to finish better. People are being put in places to make change for the better. I think everybody should be excited as we are as players for this next season.”
3. Getting Help For Swift
New Lions’ offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn hinted that help will be on the way for D’Andre Swift.
Whether that is a running back to platoon with or offensive linemen remains to be seen.
“I think DeAndre [Swift] can be a three-down back. I like his versatility. There’s some things we can do with him in the passing game to get him a little more involved in that. I’m looking forward to working with this young man. We have to keep him on the field and I believe he wants to be on the field. We’ll find someone else to go with him, but I’m excited about what I saw on tape.”
For all of these reasons, D’Andre Swift is poised to be the 2020 NFL rookie who could have the biggest leap in progression in 2021.