One of the most important players to the Detroit Lions in 2022 is running back D’Andre Swift, and it isn’t just because of the punch he packs for the team’s offense on the ground.
Swift has been seen as a “next man up” type player for a while in the league, but hasn’t gotten over the hump in terms of taking the next step toward complete stardom. It’s time for Swift to do that starting now, however, according to one analyst.
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One person who has taken notice of Swift in a big way ahead of 2022 is NFL.com writer Adam Rank. In a piece about the Lions before 2022, Rank offers some thoughts about the roster and the team. Notable in terms of players was his assertion that this season would be the ideal time for Swift to step up and make a big impact on the field.
Writing “at some point, he needs to become the guy,” Rank calls out Swift in a big way before 2022. As he says, now could be the perfect time for a breakout year for the player who’s talent has left everyone hungering for a bit extra on the field.
“I think you could say that we just want to see more. And if you’re looking for some similarities, Swift reminds me an awful lot of Dalvin Cook, who played just four games during his rookie year. He took another step forward in his second season and exploded for 13 rushing touchdowns during his third season in Minnesota. That would be the dream for Lions fans,” Rank goes on to write.
If Swift has a Cook type breakout season with the Lions, that would be a big development for the team. The Lions have needed a lead dog at running back for a while, and Swift has felt as if he could become that guy easily. To this point, it just hasn’t quite happened that way. Cook has become one of the top runners in the NFC North, and Swift does seem to have that kind of juice if he can put things together.
Perhaps with this little push of extra motivation from Rank, Swift can edge himself over the top this season.
Swift Being Disrespected Within Rankings This Offseason
If folks are expecting big things from Swift in 2022, it might not be that obvious considering some of the rankings that he’s been a part of before the year even begins. Pro Football Focus was low on Detroit’s running back room, ranking them 20th in the NFL to start the year. Additionally, Pro Football Network’s ranking of runners before the season had Swift placing in the 32nd spot, something the internet found preposterous. With this in mind, there’s a lot of league disrespect as it relates to Swift and the Lions finally getting things going on the ground for a new season.
Thus far, people haven’t seen Swift dominate on the field, which only leads them to overlook him at this point of the offseason. In the weeks and months ahead, this could change significantly should Swift get things going as many anticipate he can on the field.
Swift Could be Primed for Much Better Season
Despite some of the disrespect, Swift feels primed to have just the kind of season that Rank is talking about. While it’s easy to understand the trepidation that some have placing Swift high on lists of top runners, there is no reason to think he cannot surge forward. At this point of his career, Swift’s problems are more with regards to his health rather than anything else. This offseason, Swift has bulked up trying to solve that, and looks like a good bet to have a more durable, better season as a result of the strength.
Swift will also benefit from a Lions offense which could be expected to continue to pound the rock this year with him as the feature piece. In addition to running the ball, Swift can catch as well, which sets him up to impact the whole game as a potentially elite dual-threat player within Detroit’s offense.
2022 feels like a huge season for Swift, but the good news is he is doing everything to make sure it can be a great season, even as he gets called out. So far, the smart bet might be on Swift to step up and make the kind of impact folks are hoping for.