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Matthew Stafford: D'Andre Swift is 'a sponge right now' learning Lions offense

The Detroit Lions used another second-round pick on a running back this offseason, adding D'Andre Swift to a backfield that already included Kerryon Johnson.

Swift's dual-threat ability brings a needed element to a Detroit offense that lacks depth on the outside.

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford joined NFL Network's Good Morning Football on Friday and extolled the young running back's play.

"I'm excited about him," Stafford said of Swift. "He's a guy that just wants to come in here and work and get better. He's a sponge right now, just trying to learn everything that he can. Obviously, when you hand him the football, you can see the talent, it's there. You put him out wide and let him run some routes, the talent, it's there."

For a player who once compared himself to Christian McCaffrey, Swift's ability to catch the ball out of the backfield should get him on the field early in the season and increase his snap count during his rookie campaign. It's possible we see Swift used as a pass-catcher as much as he carries the ball.

Swift and Johnson should split the backfield duties in 2020. Both have the ability to run or receive, which gives the Detroit offense greater flexibility in its RB rotation. Given Johnson's injury history, Swift could be in for a full-time role if another unfortunate injury strikes.

Despite the truncated offseason, Stafford, who has brought several rookies to his home, believes the first-year players in Detroit are in a spot to succeed.

"I think that more than anything this whole class of rookies that we brought in, the guys are good guys, and that's what you need," he said. "They're put in a tough spot, this offseason, not having the spring, they're kind of just thrown into the fire. So during the offseason, just trying to get a few of them together and bring them to the house and try to teach them and get them ready for the season and, so far, they've done a nice job."

As for the back injury that wiped out the back half of Stafford's impressive start to 2019, the quarterback isn't worried about reinjury.

"It feels great. I hated missing time," he said. "It was something I had to let heal -- I didn't really want to, to be honest with you. I wanted to get out there and play, because we were playing at a high level, but needed to do it. I feel great now. It's a lot of fun to get the pads back on and go out there and play, and throw it to all the talented dudes I've got around me."

One of those dudes is Swift, who, if all goes right in Detroit, should be in for a big season.

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