The Eagles were a popular landing spot for a rookie running back in mock drafts, but they opted to go for a more proven thing at the NFL Draft by trading for former Lions running back D'Andre Swift. The Eagles also got the 249th pick in this year's draft while sending out a 2025 fourth-rounder and No. 219 Saturday.
A trade of Swift became inevitable after the Lions drafted Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs with the No. 12 pick in this year's draft, and the trade clarifies things in the Detroit backfield. David Montgomery figured to be the lead back, at least to start the season, with Gibbs taking one more passing downs, and I think both are fringe RB2s in what should be a pretty good offense. But Gibbs' big-play and pass-catching ability give him a higher upside – you just might have to wait a bit for him to carve out a bigger role.
As for Swift in Philadelphia, it's a move that makes sense in a couple of ways. The Eagles needed a lead back after letting Miles Sanders walk in free agency, and while Rashaad Penny certainly has the skill set to do that, his injury history makes him someone you can't necessarily rely on for 17 games. This is also probably true of Swift, who has never played more than 14 games in his three NFL seasons despite having somewhat limited workloads throughout. It's that inability to stay on the field that surely led to the Lions decision to move on from him.
Swift figures to step into Philly as the lead back, but they'll also surely continue to rotate their backs, which should help keep him fresh. That's probably not a bad thing for the Eagles, though it does mean that this may not be the very best possible landing spot for Swift in Fantasy.
My initial reaction to the trade is to project Swift for 205 carries – a far cry from Sanders' team-high 259 a year ago, but quite a bit more than Swift's career high of 151. That might be underselling his upside a bit, but given the injury history here despite more limited workloads, I just don't feel totally comfortable projecting much more than that.
The good news is, Swift figures to be very efficient in this offense, and I've got him pushing 1,000 rushing yards and close to 10 touchdowns despite that. That would be career-best production for him on the ground, though I do think Swift is likely to take a step back as a pass-catcher in this offense.
Of Jalen Hurts' 1,040 career pass attempts, only 15.6% have gone to running backs; last season, Jared Goff threw 20.2% of his passes to running backs. Personnel surely plays a role in that, as Hurts' primary running back was Miles Sanders, a very poor pass catcher, while Goff wasn't peppering Jamaal Williams with targets like he was with Swift. But still, Hurts' mobility means he's less likely to dump it off to his running backs than Goff.
I don't doubt the Eagles will scheme up a few more opportunities for Swift in the passing game than they have for their backs the past few seasons, but I still don't think Swift has much of a chance to even match last season's 48 catches on 70 targets, even in a full season. I'm projecting Swift for 42 catches, or only six fewer than Sanders, Boston Scott, and Kenneth Gainwell combined for out of the backfield last season.
Add it all up, and Swift looks like a solid RB2 to me. He probably won't be as touchdown dependent as Sanders was as the lead back here, but he probably won't be as reliable a source of rushing production overall. I think I'd take him over both Montgomery and Gibbs, but he's probably still behind Sanders in his new home in Carolina. All in all, I think Swift is probably a Round 3/4 target for PPR leagues, and more like a Round 5 guy in non-PPR.
There's upside here to reach the RB1 range, but it would require Swift staying healthy while holding up to a running game role he's never managed even going back to college. If he can do that, you've got plenty of room for profit here, but there's enough risk here that I wouldn't bet on it.