Raiders

Raiders Upgrade Running Back Room With Kenyan Drake Signing

The Las Vegas Raiders are giving their roster a facelift this offseason. After revamping both their offensive and defensive lines, they brought in John Brown to bolster their wide receiver corps. Also, they made changes to their running back room and signed Kenyan Drake.

The Raiders officially announced they signed Drake to a two-year $11 million contract, one day after Tom Pelissero of NFL Media originally reported the move. A third-round selection by the Miami Dolphins in 2016’s draft, the Alabama product was traded to the Arizona Cardinals in 2019. During his stint with the Cards, he appeared in 23 games with 21 starts. He racked up 362 carries for 1,598 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Former Dolphins general manager Mike Tannenbaum recently spoke highly of Drake. He described the running back as someone who is explosive, a great receiver out of the backfield with really good hands. Also, he said he’s somebody who is a little bit under the radar but he’s a very productive NFL player.

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How can Kenyan Drake improve the Raiders?

At first, it looks like Drake was a luxury the Raiders didn’t need. Why are they spending on a running back when they need help in the secondary? However, they already reloaded their defensive line and re-signed linebacker Nicholas Morrow. After all, not all their free-agent additions have to be on defense, the offense also needed help.

Last season, the Raiders ranked sixth in rushing touchdowns. Nevertheless, Josh Jacobs averaged a paltry 3.9 yards per carry one year after averaging 4.8. While some of that was due to the injuries across the offensive line, Las Vegas saw the opportunity to bring in someone that can spell ’28’ from time to time and play at a high level in case he misses time with injuries.

Moreover, Drake gives the Raiders a superb backfield tandem. You could argue that team’s brass could’ve waited and take a running back in 2021’s draft. However, the Georgia native is a proven talent and a touchdown machine. He’s also an upgrade over Devontae Booker and Jalen Richard, who was just released. Also, Drake’s contract isn’t cost-prohibitive, as he will count $3 million against the cap with the chance to earn $1.75 million in incentives.

The Raiders have a few head-scratching decisions in free agency such as trading Hudson but signing Drake isn’t one of them. NFL teams need to load on as much talent as they can in the offseason. That’s precisely what the Silver and Black did when they added Drake to their running back room.

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Top Photo: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

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Larry Carroll

Big mistake for the Cardinals