There are three running backs at the top of this year’s NFL draft class: Jonathan Taylor, J.K. Dobbins, and D’Andre Swift. People will talk about Cam Akers as well, but these other three guys will most likely be the first taken off the board. However, there is a very small chance that any will be taken in the first round. This has more to do with team need than talent as teams are trending more towards taking later round running backs and fitting them into their system than they are using a first round pick on a running back. Unfortunately for Swift, who many consider to be at the top of this running back class, this likely means slipping to the second round despite having first round talent.
Swift grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he played high school football at Saint Joseph’s Prep. In his senior season, he had 149 carries for 1,564 yards and 25 touchdowns. That’s 10.5 yards per carry and a touchdown on nearly 17 percent of his carries! He committed to Georgia where he spent his first year backing up two current NFL running backs Sony Michel and Nick Chubb (what a backfield!). His next two seasons were spent mostly in a timeshare with Elijah Holyfield, and he excelled with 2,265 yards and 17 touchdowns. He was also a legitimate threat out of the backfield with 56 receptions over the course of those two seasons.
Georgia has become a factory for running backs over the past decade, and Swift fits the mold of most of those players. While he does not have the lightning fast speed on some of the other backs in this draft, he’s got an incredible quickness and finds holes that most other guys would never see. Swift is a strong runner that will extend plays and could end up being elite in the future if he can control some of his fumbling habits.
Probably the biggest positive for Swift that a lot of teams are going to take a long look at is his pass blocking ability. The NFL has turned into a pass-heavy league where a running back needs to do almost as much catching the ball and in pass protection as they do running the ball if they want to stay on the field for more than just first and second down. Swift has those capabilities and will be a valuable immediate asset to whichever teams drafts him.
Arms: 29 7/8″
40-Yard Time: 4.48
Potential Landing Spots: Dolphins, Bucs, Jaguars, Seahawks