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May 16, 2023

Eagles player review: RB D'Andre Swift edition

Eagles NFL
051623DAndreSwift2 Junfu Han/USA TODAY Sports

D'Andre Swift gave the Eagles fits Week 1 last season.

During the offseason, we'll be taking a close look at Philadelphia Eagles players of interest who are currently on the roster but we may not know a lot about just yet. Today we'll take a look at running back D'Andre Swift.

Previous player reviews

Olamide Zaccheaus

For this exercise we cut up all of Swift's rushing attempts and targets during the 2022 season. So let's start there. First, 14 minutes of rushing attempts.

Aaaaand 12 minutes of targets:

Did you watch all that? Yes? No? Whatever. Before we get to our notes on Swift's game, here's a snapshot of his career production:

 D'Andre Swift RushYards YPC TD 
2020 114 521 4.6 
2021 151 617 4.1 
2022 99 542 5.5 

And as a receiver: 

 D'Andre SwiftTargets RecYards YPC TD 
2020  57 48 357 7.8 
2021  78  62  452 7.3 
2022  70 48 3898.1 


Explosiveness: In both videos above, Swift had explosive plays all day in each of the Lions' first two games in 2022 against the Eagles and Commanders. He was decisively hitting holes, making defenders miss at the second level, and galloping up the field.

In Week 3, he played through an ankle injury, re-aggravated it, and he ended up missing the next four weeks (three games, plus a bye week) as a result. In the five games after his return, he rushed 23 times for 61 yards (2.7 YPC), and he caught 16 passes on 23 targets for 109 yards (4.7 yards per target). He just didn't have the same explosiveness, as you can see in the videos above.

A look at his game log in 2022:

D'Andre Swift Rush Yards YPC TD 
Eagles 15 144 9.6 
Commanders 56 11.2 
Vikings 31 4.4 
Seahawks - Inactive 
Patriots - Inactive 
Cowboys - Inactive 
Dolphins 1.2 
Packers 10 5.0 
Bears 1.0 
Giants 20 4.0 
Bills 19 3.8 
Jaguars 14 62 4.4 
Vikings 21 3.5 
Jets 52 6.5 
Panthers 12 3.0 
Bears 11 78 7.1 
Packers 25 4.2 
TOTAL 99 542 5.5 

There's a pretty big difference in Swift's efficiency both before and after his injury setback. For example, in the rushing video above, check out the run at the 4:00 mark against the Dolphins, his first game back from injury. That might have been a big run Week 1 or 2, but you can see that he is sluggish with his cuts, and a potential huge gainer resulted in roughly an 8-yard gain. At the 4:54 mark against the Bears, that's probably a TD Weeks 1 or 2.

As the season progressed, you could see Swift regain his explosiveness, particularly in the Lions' last four games. For example, at the 12:04 mark against the Bears... what a run.

Vision: Swift does of nice job of recognizing where to run, and then hitting that hole. He also shows some creativity in setting up second- and third-level defenders for juke moves when he gets into the open field. I almost expected that he would be a player who would unnecessarily bounce runs to the outside instead of at least getting what was blocked up for him, but I didn't see that. He generally ran through the correct crease without hesitation.

Tackle breaking: As noted above, Swift can make defenders miss, however, he doesn't break a lot of tackles. If he runs square into a defender, he will typically lose those battles, either getting knocked backwards or going straight to ground. He is not what you would call an "always falls forward" type of back.

He also got tackled near the goal line a lot. Some guys just kind of have a nose for the end zone, and won't be denied. Swift had a lot of opportunities to get the ball across the goal line, but usually fell short. If he is used in short yardage situations, you better create a hole or call a stretch play to the outside because he's not a pile mover.

Receiving: Swift is thought of as a good receiver because he is averaging over 50 catches per season over his first three years in the NFL. His 156 receptions are fifth in the NFL among running backs during that span. However, his yards per target average of 5.8 is just average. Among 23 running backs with at least 100 catches over the last three seasons, his 5.8 yards per target ranked 12th.

Still, he is a massive upgrade in the passing game over Miles Sanders, who had a good rookie season as a pass catcher and then completely fizzled out in that department thereafter. Swift's TD catch and run against the Commanders Week 2 (1:08 mark in the target video above) was the biggest play of that game.

The Lions liked to use Swift on "Texas" routes. See the 2:00 mark against the Dolphins and the 3:12 mark against the Packers. Watch him stick his foot in the ground and dust linebackers.

The Lions were unable to connect on wheel routes with Swift last season, but I think that opportunities for deeper shots down the field to Swift are there. Watch him dust one of the best coverage linebackers in the NFL in Matt Milano at the 4:51 mark.

But I think Swift's biggest appeal to the Eagles will be in the screen game, which you will see throughout the target video. With the Eagles' athleticism along their offensive line, they should be a great screen team, and Swift can perhaps add that element to the overall offensive attack.

I should note that Swift doesn't have hands of glue. I have him down for at least four drops, against the Commanders, Bills (dropped TD), Vikings, and Jets.

Ball security: Six fumbles on 520 career touches. As a point of comparison, Sanders had nine career fumbles on 863 career touches. That's a fumble every 87 touches for Swift, and every 96 touches for Sanders. It's worth noting that Swift only had one fumble in 2022.

Pass protection: I didn't actively seek out examples of Swift in pass protection when cutting up his rushes and targets, but I did happen to see a couple of moments that weren't great. PFF had him ranked fourth in pass protection in 2022, which came as a big surprise. We'll get a better look at him in pass pro in training camp. 


If Swift can be anything close to the runner that he was early in the 2022 season before his ankle flared up, he has the potential to be a very exciting player in the Eagles' offense, both as a home run hitter as a runner and as a player who adds a new dimension to the Eagles' offense in the screen game.

I'm curious about what the Lions didn't like about Swift that caused them to use the No. 12 overall pick on a similar player in Jahmyr Gibbs, and subsequently dump Swift for a 2025 fourth-round pick, because on tape, this is a dynamic player when healthy.

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