As a complementary back to Josh Jacobs, what can we expect from Kenyan Drake during the Las Vegas Raiders’ 2021 season?
The Raiders signed the former Cardinal to a two-year, $11 million deal this past free agency period. This was an interesting financial commitment for a second-string back; however, he’ll hold a significant role on the team. Just how significant will Drake be? We will look over his career history and then preview what he can do this season to find out.
Drake has been a decent two-way running back for most of his career in Miami and Arizona but saw some regression last year. Despite a career-high in rushing yards (955) and total touchdowns (10), it was mainly due to heavy usage as he only averaged four yards per carry (career-low). Besides that, Drake has been a decent running back that can be effective in the passing game as well. His best year was in 2019. After being traded to Arizona, he racked up 814 scrimmage yards in just eight games.
What to expect
With how the Raiders are set up, Drake can be a great addition to the team and Jacobs as well, since he will certainly lighten his usual workload to stay healthy. Drake will likely play a joker role which was attempted last year with Lynn Bowden Jr. but didn’t work out. This should imply that Drake will see plenty of time on third down, especially in passing situations. Even though Devontae Booker was a decent second-string last year, Drake should easily have better numbers. Drake has expressed excitement with the Raiders on the NFL Network stating “I know who for sure is going to space, and that’s this offense this year, this team, I feel like we’re definitely taking off to another trajectory, you know what I mean?”
When thinking about possibilities for how Drake will contribute, it seems that the best case scenario would be that he and Jacobs can form a tandem that can contend with Cleveland’s Chubb and Hunt. In the not-so-good case, Drake struggles to find holes or break tackles which might force Jacobs to play more. I predict that Drake finishes the season with around 500 rushing yards, 350 receiving yards, and six total touchdowns. Hitting that range would be very productive and would make the offense formidable on the ground.
Fans are going to hope that Drake stays true to his word on the offense’s potential and that he can be a factor to make it come true.
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*Top Photo: Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal