Despite the return of Ronald Jones and Dare Ogunbowale, the Buccaneers still have a glaring need at running back. Peyton Barber has moved on to the Washington Redskins and some of Tom Brady’s best friends in New England have been the massive amount of pass catching running backs we’ve seen come through over the last two decades.
For the Buccaneers’ offense to reach its full potential, Tampa Bay has to address offensive tackle and running back early in this draft. As fate would have it, they may just have a chance at the best running back this draft has to offer.
D’Andre Swift’s Collegiate Career
Three years as a Georgia Bulldog, Swift became one of the most explosive players in the SEC. Having played in 43 career games, Swift had 440 carries for 2,885 yards and 20 touchdowns as well as 73 receptions for 666 yards and five touchdowns.
Although his career high in touchdowns came as a Sophomore with ten, Swift really became a household name as a Junior rushing for 1,218 yards on 196 carries - a 6.2 yards per carry average.
Swift was a permanent captain at Georgia while being named to the 2019 All-SEC team, beating out fellow draft classmate Clyde Edwards-Helaire from LSU.
Swift had back-to-back 1,000-plus yard seasons with Georgia and finished in the top five in the SEC in rush attempts, rush yards, and plays from scrimmage during his Junior year campaign. His 6.6 career yards per carry is good for ninth best in the SEC since 1956.
At 5’8” and 212 lbs, Swift is strong and compact, making him a nightmare for opposing defenders. At the NFL Scouting Combine Swift ran a 4.48 40-yard dash, putting on full display his breakaway speed. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein describes Swift as someone who, “possesses the play traits and running style of a skillful NFL veteran and is the latest in an avalanche of talented Georgia backs.”
Swift has already drawn comparisons to Frank Gore, Cadillac Williams, and Dalvin Cook, putting some high praise and heavy pressure on the 21-year old.
There’s a lot to list here which is why Swift is the consensus number one running back in the draft. For starters, he’s a three-down back. He can run, catch, and pass block allowing him to not have to leave the field based on formation or play call. Now, with the Bucs, he would still be in a time share with Jones, but there wouldn’t be a clear tell as to what the offense was planning based solely on personnel like there was in the Charles Sims days.
He’s patient with his blockers while having next-level vision to allow him to find seams in the defense he can exploit. His elusiveness and quick burst can take a one yard gain to an explosive play in the blink of an eye.
For such a young running back prospect, his route tree is impressive as a pass catching back. This makes him a mismatch against most linebackers he’d face as well as a reliable outlet for the quarterback when under pressure or looking to check down.
There is zero hesitation when pass blocking and he has no problem laying into a blitzing defender to help out his quarterback. No fear, no concern despite who he’s matched up against - something that isn’t too common in rookie running backs.
His straight line speed is far better than his ability to break a run outside. If the running path through the line is clogged up, Swift isn’t the kind of running back who can bounce it to the outside and make something out of nothing by change of direction.
He’s not going to overpower his opponents on short yardage situations by bursting through a pile with his size or power, but that’s not necessarily something that should hinder his ability to pick up short yardage. It simply means there needs to be some sort of clearing for him - even if small - rather than trusting him to bowl over an opposing defensive lineman.
Finally, his indecisiveness. It’s almost as if, at times, he doesn’t trust himself to make that snap decision and once he does it’s too late. This can cause him to leave potentially big plays out on the field. This will improve - hopefully - with more experience and trust in the offense. Very much a coachable issue, but an issue to deal with nonetheless.
Why The Buccaneers Need D’Andre Swift
Simply put - because he’s the best at what he does in this class and plays a position of major need for the Bucs. Swift immediately upgrades the offense, gives Brady a two-headed monster at running back with guys that can run as well as catch the ball out of the backfield, and gives Brady an improved pass blocking back right out of the gate.
Swift’s versatility can give the Bucs a next-level threat at running back that they flat out didn’t have last year. It has been since 2015 that the Bucs had a 1,000 yard rusher and Swift has all the makings to be exactly that guy for the Bucs for the foreseeable future.
Should It Happen?
I guess that depends on your view of running backs in the draft. Swift’s projections range everywhere from the middle first to middle second round. If I’m the Bucs, I’m not pulling the trigger on a running back until day two - with the exception being a trade up to the end of the first round in order to get that fifth year option on a potentially game changing type of back - which Swift certainly is.
It all depends on how the draft falls. The Buccaneers certainly can’t afford to take him at fourteen, but if he’s sitting there in the second round, I think it’s a no brainer. He’s also someone I would say is worth the draft capital to get back into that 28-32 range at the end of the first round.
But what do you think? Let us know in the poll and the comments below.
How Do You Feel About D’Andre Swift For The Buccaneers In The 2020 NFL Draft
This poll is closed
Draft Him, No Matter What
Trade Back Candidate
I Wouldn’t Mind It
There Are Better Options