Report: Falcons not planning to meet with former UGA RB D'Andre Swift at NFL combine

Dave Holcomb

The Atlanta Falcons last drafted a player from the University of Georgia in 2011. It doesn't sound like former Bulldogs running back D'Andre Swift is going to break that drought this spring.

Will McFadden of reported this week that Swift told him he doesn't have a meeting scheduled with the Falcons at the 2020 NFL Combine.

However, the Falcons did meet with 13 other running backs either at the combine or the Senior Bowl, including three backs from the SEC -- LSU's Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Vanderbilt's Ke'Shawn Vaughn and Florida's La'Michael Perine.

Atlanta fans who also root for the Bulldogs have been calling on the Falcons to draft a Georgia player in recent years. At times, fans have even blamed the team's draft struggles on the fact that the organization doesn't do a better job of targeting Georgia guys. Most famously, Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton heavily criticized the Falcons for not drafting more Georgia players last year.

However, the Falcons not interviewing Swift may simply be the case because the team doesn't think it can acquire him with its draft position. Swift is considered the best running back in the draft class and has a higher player draft grade at than another former Georgia running back, Sony Michel, who went in the first round at No. 31 to the New England Patriots in 2018.

If the Falcons want Swift, they would likely have to draft him at No. 16 overall or trade back up into the late part of the first round as they did last season, thus sacrificing additional draft picks on Day 2 and 3.

Running back is definitely a need, but it's not Atlanta's biggest need this offseason, so it's hard to see the organization using a first-round pick on the position. Still, that's not going to stop the local fans from harping about the Falcons' inability to keep Georgia players in Georgia.

Swift rushed for 1,218 yards and seven touchdowns during the 2019 season. He also chipped in 24 reception for 216 yards and another score. Swift rushed for 1,000 yards during the 2018 season as well, and he averaged more than 6.5 yards per attempt throughout his college career.

Falcons starting running back Devonta Freeman is coming off his worst season in the NFL and could be a cap casualty before minicamps begin.

The last Georgia player the Falcons drafted was linebacker Akeem Dent in 2011. Atlanta selected him during the third round after trading up to take wide receiver Julio Jones.

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