It wasn’t just a breakout game Sunday for D’Andre Swift, it was a relatively rare huge performance by a member of the rookie running back class. Swift, whose season high had been 60 rushing yards, rumbled for 116 and two touchdowns on just 14 carries as his Detroit Lions topped the Jacksonville Jaguars, 34-16.
The only other 100-yard rushing days accomplished by rookies thus far were one each by the Kansas City Chiefs’ Clyde Edwards-Helaire, the only back taken in the first round, and the Indianapolis Colts’ Jonathan Taylor, who was the third running back drafted after Swift went ahead of him in the second round. Edwards-Helaire had his biggest game in Week 1, and the Chiefs recently signaled a certain degree of dissatisfaction with him by signing Le’Veon Bell, while Taylor has been solid but unspectacular, despite getting a major opportunity when veteran Marlon Mack suffered a season-ending injury in Week 1.
Other backs who have emerged in fairly prominent roles for their teams include the Washington Football Team’s Antonio Gibson and the Los Angeles Chargers’ Joshua Kelley. Meanwhile, running backs taken before the later rounds who have yet to make a major mark in the league include, in the order they were drafted: Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams (second round); J.K. Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens (second round); AJ Dillon, Green Bay Packers (second round); Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (third round); Zack Moss, Buffalo Bills (third round); Darrynton Evans, Tennessee Titans (third round); La’Mical Perine, New York Jets (fourth round); Anthony McFarland Jr., Pittsburgh Steelers (fourth round); and DeeJay Dallas, Seattle Seahawks (fourth round).
There is still plenty of time for the running back Class of 2020 to put up big numbers, of course. Swift, who was viewed by some as the most talented prospect at his position, may have signaled Sunday that he is on his way to a banner-carrying campaign.