D’Andre Swift is the draft’s best back, and perfect for today’s NFL

D'Andre Swift, Georgia Bulldogs. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
D'Andre Swift, Georgia Bulldogs. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

D’Andre Swift starred at Georgia and will soon star in the NFL. Here is why he’s the best running back in his draft class and is perfect in today’s game.

With a surname like his, D’Andre Swift was born to be a star running back.

The Philadelphia native bet on himself, joining a crowded backfield at RBU in Athens. Even with Georgia Bulldogs legends Nick Chubb and Sony Michel ahead of him on the depth chart, Swift carved out his legacy during his three years of college ball. The two-time 1,000-yard rusher played in three SEC Championships, one national championship and never lost to Florida.

After three great years in college, Swift wisely opted to go pro. He’ll be a top-40 pick like Chubb, Michel and Todd Gurley were before him. Frankly, it would be shocking if he wasn’t a first-round pick like Gurley was in 2015 and Michel in ’18. Though Swift may not have the reverence of his UGA predecessors on the ground, he has the chance to be the best pro.

Swift has drawn NFL comparisons to Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings, Alvin Kamara or the New Orleans Saints and future Pro Football Hall of Famer Frank Gore, most recently with the Buffalo Bills. If he becomes any of those three players, Swift will have had a phenomenal career at the NFL level.

Like Gurley half-decade ago, Swift should be the first back off the board. Though outstanding players like Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor, Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins and LSU’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire can all be spectacular pros, Swift has the skill set to fit into any system and thrive.

If Swift needs to be the bell-cow, an offense can give him 25 carries in a game and he can emulate Cook or Gore. Should he need to play in a complementary role initially, his ego can handle it because he did this for years in college. If he needs to become part of the passing game, he can channel his inner Kamara and flourish.

From a UGA comparison, he’s a healthier and shorter version of Gurley, a better receiver out of the backfield coming out of college than Chubb and potentially a more impactful player right away than Michel. Gurley is a former All-Pro, Chubb nearly led the league in rushing last year and Michel won a Super Bowl as a rookie. He’s the next great Georgia running back about to enter the league.

Another advantage for Swift in this draft cycle is he’s not going to be a top-16 pick. What this means is he’ll have a better chance of landing with a better organization. Again, fit is everything and Swift is poised to end up on a team who will know how to best feature him in the offense from the jump.

Other 2020 running backs may end up in good situations, too. However, Swift has the rare combination of collegiate production and a lack of wear and tear. Taylor will be a future College Football Hall of Famer, something Swift won’t ever be, but he has more than twice the college carries of his draft classmate. Taylor can be a great pro, but Swift should have the longer shelf life.

Dobbins’ three years at Ohio State we remarkable, but he too has considerably more carries than Swift. Add in him drawing NFL comparisons to often-injured players and Dobbins’ may run out of gas in the league before inking his second contract. In the right system, Dobbins can be a Pro Bowler in year one, but what will he look like entering year six out of Ohio State?

As for Edwards-Helaire, Swift has more career carries than him. However, Swift was infinitely more productive during his first two college seasons than Edwards-Helaire ever was. Plus, Edwards-Helaire is coming off a 200-carry season in 2019, while Swift never had more than 196 in a college campaign. Edwards-Helaire’s peak was better, but Swift’s greatness extended longer.

From Charley Trippi to Herschel Walker to Garrison Hearst to Terrell Davis to Gurley, Chubb and Michel, many former Georgia running backs have had excellent careers in the NFL. It’s not a guarantee Swift will be a home-run as a pro, but his consistency and versatility in the college game make him an ideal fit for any NFL offense.

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Expect Swift to be the second UGA player off the board in the draft. He’ll go a handful of picks after left tackle Andrew Thomas in the first round, well ahead of quarterback Jake Fromm going in the top 50. To think all three joined the Georgia program in 2017 is remarkable. They are why Georgia always made it to Atlanta in December and never lost to Florida in Jacksonville.

In a draft with many tremendous running backs, Swift is the best prospect of all them.