After a multitude of big moves in the 2021 offseason, the Las Vegas Raiders will send out a team that looks much different than it did in 2020.
While many of these moves look great on paper, the truth is, that they will not all be successful. While the Alex Leatherwood selection sticks out as the strangest addition, the Raiders will have their hands full attempting to get newcomer Kenyan Drake involved.
A high price addition
Not many expected to see the Raiders be involved in the free-agent running back market in 2021. However, that’s exactly what happened when they brought in the former Arizona Cardinal. Signed to a two-year, $11 million dollar contract, Drake’s now the thirteenth highest-paid tailback in the NFL in terms of average per year. Jon Gruden will now be tasked with justifying the hefty price paid for a backup runner.
A tough fit for the Raiders
It appears that the Raiders are attempting to copy the two-running back model set by the Cleveland Browns last season. With the combination of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, the Browns formed a formidable offense that helped carry them deep into the playoffs. This running game was able to prosper due to repeated chances as they were just 28th in pass attempts. The Raiders were a similarly run-heavy team but still ranked 21st in pass attempts.
Make no mistake about it, Josh Jacobs is still the number one running back on this team. Having toted the ball 273 times last season, similar usage can be expected for 2021. Another player sure to get his targets is the tight end, Darren Waller. Coming off a season where he just broke the Raiders’ record for receptions in a season, he’s sure to be the focal point of another productive passing offense. If Waller can stay healthy, another 130 targets can easily be expected. Added to this, Henry Ruggs III will certainly be a much larger part of the offense. Last year’s number one wideout, Nelson Agholor received 82 targets so Ruggs can expect about the same number. With about 485 targets split between those three, it leaves little opportunity for everyone else, including Drake.
While Drake is certainly a good running back, he may not get many chances to do so. Of course, if Jacobs were to go down, Drake would prove to be a genius acquisition. Currently, however, getting Drake the football enough times to be impactful may be a tall task.
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*Top Photo: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports