Eagles see D'Andre Swift as a natural fit behind Jalen Hurts

The Lions received a fourth-round pick in 2025 and a seventh-rounder (No. 219) in this year's draft while Philadelphia got Swift and Detroit's seventh-round pick (No. 249). Kirthmon F. Dozier-USA TODAY Sports

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Eagles' interest in running back D'Andre Swift was sparked during their Week 1 matchup against the Detroit Lions on September 11.

On the second play of the game, Swift took a handoff from Jared Goff along the left hash, cut it sharply back inside to shake a diving James Bradberry, and turned on the jets for a 50-yard scamper to set up the first score of the game. Swift went on to rush for 144 yards and a touchdown and added three catches for 31 yards in a narrow 38-35 Philadelphia win.

"You saw the explosiveness when we played them," general manager Howie Roseman said. "He had a heck of a game. Every time he touched the ball you knew there was a chance he could take it the distance."

That was the first in a series of events that led to the Eagles acquiring Swift from Detroit on Day 3 of the draft in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2025 and a swap of seventh-rounders.

The move left Swift sorting through "a lot of emotions all at once." He called it a "surprise" and said he received "no real explanation" from the Lions. He spent two days in limbo before the trade, unsure of what his future held after Detroit selected Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs 12th overall. But he expressed appreciation for the opportunity afforded to him in Detroit, and enthusiasm about coming home. Swift was born in Philadelphia and attended high school at St. Joseph's Prep, less than 10 miles from Lincoln Financial Field.

"I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a part of a great organization with tremendous history, a team that’s connected. Just by being in the building these [past] couple days, they’re together, they love each other," Swift said. "I’m excited to build relationships with the guys in the locker room and just be a piece to the puzzle.”

Coach Nick Sirianni is anticipating a snug fit. He said the Eagles were happy with their running back room -- a group that includes Rashaad Penny, Kenny Gainwell, Boston Scott and Trey Sermon -- prior to the trade, but felt Swift's ability to make people miss and accelerate through the hole would pair well with the Eagles' run-pass option game as well as the draws they like to run.

Sirianni also likes him as a pass-catching option, saying Swift "has a great ability to read defenses ... to separate from tight coverage out of the backfield, and has really good hands."

Swift said he "stayed up the last couple nights" after the trade thinking about running behind one of the top offensive lines in football. (Philadelphia was second in ESPN's run-block win rate metric last year at 75%; Detroit ranked ninth at 72%). And he noted that this will be the first time in his career that he'll be alongside a dual-threat quarterback like Jalen Hurts, whose ability to run prevents defenses from swarming toward the backs, allowing for more space to operate.

"Just on the outside looking in on how he commands the offense, his leadership and everything he brings to the team and organization, I’m grateful to be in an opportunity to sit beside him and play,” Swift said of Hurts.

Swift, 24, rushed for 542 yards on 99 carries (5.5 avg.) with five touchdowns last season and added 48 catches for 389 yards and three scores. He dealt with ankle and shoulder injuries and missed three regular-season games in 2022.

A second-round pick out of Georgia in 2020, Swift has rushed for 1,680 yards and 18 touchdowns over three seasons while missing a total of 10 games.

His contract situation played a role in the trade. He is entering the final year of his rookie deal and is slated to make a base salary of just under $1.8 million. Lions general manager Brad Holmes cited that expiring contract when explaining the decision to move Swift, saying "it's my job to keep laser focus on the present, but probably even more importantly, keep laser focus on the future."

The Eagles, meanwhile, are looking to make it back to the Super Bowl this season. They don't have to search far to see what a talented back in a contract year can do in this offense, having just watched Miles Sanders erupt for career highs with 1,269 yards and 11 touchdowns before signing a four-year, $25 million with the Carolina Panthers in free agency.

Swift offers a similar upside if he can stay healthy.

The swirl of emotions stemming from the trade hasn't left Swift yet, he said, but he's ready to put that behind him.

"I’m here, I’m in Philadelphia, I play for the Eagles, so I’m ready to take on this journey each and every day and just go to work every single day and earn my keep.”