Dan Campbell came into the Lions HC job with plans for D’Andre Swift – letting him line up in the slot against linebackers.
New Lions OC Anthony Lynn gave his Chargers’ RBs the 2nd most targets in 2020, and that was with Austin Ekeler missing half of the season. Lynn also ran the ball too much at times, which led to the Chargers being top-10 in rushing attempts/game.
As Miles Sanders’ RB coach in 2020, Duce Staley heavily advocated for Sanders to handle the full load, and he got it to start the year. With Swift’s skillset, new Lions RB coach and assistant HC Staley will likely do the same. As a matter of fact, Staley said these words: “When you have a good back, an electrifying back, touches are definitely more important (than just carries),” Staley said. “You can get 18 carries and seven 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.”
Swift excelled in the pass game in his rookie year, leading all rookie RBs in yards/route run (min. 20 targets). He was 5th among all RBs, only behind Alvin Kamara, James White, Nyheim Hines, and Austin Ekeler (min. 50 targets).
He ranked 2nd among rookie RBs in total receptions while only playing on 38% of Lions offensive snaps; he only trailed James Robinson by 3 catches, while Robinson was on the field for 74% of the Jaguars’ offensive snaps.
Swift has a chance of demanding a large target and overall opportunity share, especially if both Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay both depart in free agency.
It has been shown over time that when a team has a large number of vacated targets, RBs tend to assume a lot of that volume, and there is a clear target increase to the RB position compared to the season prior.
While Matt Stafford is likely not in the plans for the Lions moving forward, Swift has a good chance of becoming a workhorse in 2021.