The Detroit Lions have had losing seasons in each of the last four years including a 3-13-1 campaign under Dan Campbell in 2021-2022, but there have been a few bright spots along the way among individual players.
Recently, rookie offensive tackle Penei Sewell made headlines after it was revealed by Pro Football Focus that he had one of the most incredible stat lines for a rookie offensive lineman in recent history.
Sewell’s progress over the course of the 2021 season is just one cause for optimism, as is the play of D’Andre Swift, the Lions’ #35 overall pick in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
While Swift’s play has been considered a disappointment to some fans on the outside looking in, a closer look reveals that the former Georgia Bulldogs star has actually set the bar quite high for the rest of his career, if early returns are any indication.
His early career stats comparable quite interestingly to one of the top running backs in the National Football League, the former 2017 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award winner, Alvin Kamara of the New Orleans Saints.
D’Andre Swift Shows Signs of Similar Career Path to Alvin Kamara
Swift, a versatile runner and receiver who dropped a game-winning touchdown pass in a 27-23 loss to the Chicago Bears in his first game as a Detroit Lion, has quietly rebounded to show flashes of star potential for the Lions franchise.
Now he’s drawing comparisons to Kamara and other top-tier running backs, although he still has a long way to go.
“Since Swift came into the league, there’s been a temptation to compare him with Alvin Kamara, the do-everything stud of the New Orleans Saints,” the website Heavy.com wrote recently.
“Finally, after a few years in the league and some stats to put with the case, it’s looking like Swift is a player who could be on that kind of trajectory for the Lions.”
Swift has been especially productive in the passing game. His hands are solid and he has the ability to get upfield quickly after catching the football, in an upright running style that reminds many of Kamara.
If Swift can continue to build his rapport with quarterback Jared Goff, the sky could be the limit for Dan Campbell’s talented young running back.
As noted by the Lions’ official Twitter account, Swift has already set an unofficial franchise record through his first 26 games in Detroit.
— Detroit Lions PR (@LionsPR) January 20, 2022
In comparison with Kamara, there are some interesting similarities stats-wise.
Kamara put up 728 yards rushing and 826 yards receiving in his first year in the league with New Orleans.
In his second year, he upped his rushing total to 883 to go with 709 yards receiving.
In year three, the former Tennessee Volunteer put up 797 yards rushing and 533 yards receiving.
While Swift isn’t quite on Kamara’s level yet, you can see flashes of how he has been settling into the Detroit offense as a dual threat running back.
As Heavy.com pointed out, Lions Head Coach Dan Campbell had a front row seat for Kamara’s breakthrough performances in New Orleans, and has quite a bit of intel on how to utilize a running back with Swift’s skillset.
Swift tallied 521 yards rushing and 357 yards receiving in his rookie year, followed up by 617 yards rushing and 452 yards receiving in 2021-2022.
While it could be years before Swift is mentioned in the same sentence as Kamara with any sort of consistency, the young SEC running backs have a lot in common when it comes to the “eye test,” namely in their highlights and playing styles.
Kamara has a big-time edge in terms of his elusiveness and ability to find small creases running side-to-side, but Swift has a surprising innate ability to turn the ball upfield and make big plays in the blink of an eye.
Check out highlights of Swift below, and let us know if you think he has the talent, and the right supporting cast in Detroit, to measure up anywhere close to Kamara in the near future.
Will he ever reach his potential in Detroit, and become the best dual threat running back in Lions history?
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