Stafford has already been impressed with rookie running back D’Andre Swift and his play, and as he explained after joining Good Morning Football, the rookie seems to have a very high ceiling entering the season thanks to the words of the quarterback.
As Stafford explained, the motivation has been there for Swift to work hard, learn and fit in from the first day he showed up with the team.
"It's a lot of fun to get the pads back on and throw to all the talented dudes I got around me. I'm just having a blast being out there." pic.twitter.com/1YEewGBBKC
— GMFB (@gmfb) August 21, 2020
“I’m excited about him. I think he’s a guy that just wants to come in here and work and get better. He’s a sponge right now just trying to learn as much as he possibly can. Obviously, when you hand him the football, you can see the talent, it’s there. You put him out wide and let him run some routes, you see the talent, it’s there.”
In terms of the rookie class, Stafford is also high on those players, admitting he helped acclimate some into the mix this offseason while lauding the good job that they have done on the field so far for the team and the offense as a whole.
“I think this whole class of rookies we brought in, the guys are good guys. That’s what you need. They’ve been put in a tough spot this spring. They were thrown into the fire so during the offseason, I tried to get a few of them together, bring them to the house and just tried to teach them and get them ready for the season and so far, they’ve done a nice job.”
Swift being a dominating force for the Lions would be a huge development this season considering how bad the team’s ground game has been for a long time. Stafford already sees Swift making a big push to have a big role, and that would be huge news for the team moving forward.
So far, it looks as if it could play out that way for Swift and his new team.
D’Andre Swift Impressed in Practice
Swift hasn’t been in pads for the Lions long, but already he’s begun to open some eyes around training camp this week. In drills, Swift has been getting fed the ball as a receiver to show off his skills. That’s been easy for him to do, and he’s caught the attention of the assembled media in the process.
As Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press aptly put it while watching a practice, Swift is going to be a problem in the NFL in terms of his pass catching out of the backfield.
D’Andre Swift is gonna be a problem for opposing teams as a receiver
— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) August 18, 2020
The Athletic’s Chris Burke took it a step further with his analysis, saying Swift was eating up linebackers in the pass catching drills.
D’Andre Swift is eating up linebackers in 1-on-1 drills. Just smoked Elijah Lee, Jarrad Davis and Jason Cabinda on consecutive reps. (Dropped the pass vs. Cabinda, though.)
Lee bounced back with a really nice breakup against Jonathan Williams.
— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurkeNFL) August 18, 2020
In college, Swift was more than a capable receiver, racking up 666 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns during his career. If Swift can be a receiving threat out of the backfield, it might allow the Lions to feature multiple back sets and work both he and Kerryon Johnson on the field at the same time. It might also allow the team to be more deceptive in their looks on the field and in turn break more big plays.
Regardless, Swift has certainly been as advertised early on in terms of what he can do. It’s certainly a shame there will be no preseason games to watch him perform and show his stuff against the opposition. For now, fans can only wait for September and the start of the season.
This year, Swift might prove to be well worth that wait when all is said and done.
D’Andre Swift Pegged for Huge Role Early
In Detroit, the answer can be summed up with picks No. 1 and No. 2 according to Nate Burleson. On a recent segment of Good Morning Football, the former wideout was asked which Lions rookies would need to perform for the team most of all. As he said, the answer was as simple as Jeff Okudah and D’Andre Swift.
— GMFB (@gmfb) August 17, 2020
“It’s simple, we all knew they were going to address a couple of positions and they addressed the cornerback position so I’m looking at Jeff Okudah. We know what Darius Slay meant to this defense, and he was a true shut down corner and Pro Bowl guy. But Jeff Okudah can do it all. He can cover, he’ll come down hill and hit you. He’s quiet but he plays bigger than what he looks like. For me, it is about Jeff Okudah coming in and filling a place. It’s not that difficult to come in and fill the cornerback spot as it might be to fill what Calvin Johnson left behind. I’m not saying it’s easy, a rookie cornerback, teams will pick on you but I do want to see him be a success. Another guy is D’Andre Swift. If you haven’t paid attention to him in college, this guy was nasty. I guarantee he’s going to come in right away and help this offense. Those 2 rookies right there, immediate impact for the Lions.”
It’s safe to say the team is feeling the pressure of having those players play a significant role, and if Burleson is right, it could be a huge shot in the arm for the entire team getting a top flight player on offense and defense early from the last draft to play a big role right off the bat.
Swift could easily play this role for the team as he has begun to show already, and that is especially true if he keeps the trust of Stafford.
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