The Las Vegas Raiders already had a bona fide workhorse in Josh Jacobs serving as a focal point of their offense over the last two seasons.
His emergence has resulted in back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing campaigns that were capped by a Pro Bowl nod. As a result, the Raiders raised some eyebrows by signing Drake to a two-year, $11 million deal in free agency.
Drake is slated to serve as a complementary option to Jacobs in the backfield. With a healthy stable of options to work with in the passing game, quarterback Derek Carr has good reason to be excited.
Carr shared some heavy praise for Drake’s versatile skill set and is confident that he can serve an integral role in the offense.
“Kenyan is a super fast, super explosive player,” Carr said. “I don’t know if we were missing it, but I think he adds just a dimension of just another threat. Him and Jalen Richard are similar. He’s a receiver background. You know how (head) coach (Jon Gruden) likes to throw certain routes to the running backs. I mean, we design plays sometimes to get it to the running back, so he can break a tackle. So, I think KD will be really good at that for us, and he’s a great dude. I’ve really enjoyed being around him.”
Carr’s comments are indicative of the sense of mutual respect between the new teammates. Drake had already noted his first impression of a ‘cerebral’ quarterback that is more than capable of taking things up a notch in the 2021 NFL season.
The Raiders made efforts to revamp the passing game for Carr with the additions of wide receivers John Brown and Willie Snead IV this offseason. However, it is safe to say that Drake is expected to play a crucial part in helping to establish a balanced attack for an offense that finished 10th in scoring last year.
The 27-year-old is coming off a stellar 2020 campaign that saw him rush for 955 yards and 10 touchdowns while hauling in 25 of 31 targets for 137 yards. Despite a quiet year in the receiving category, it should be noted that he was coming off consecutive 50-reception seasons up to that point.
Drake’s skill set gives head coach Jon Gruden a quality option to work with in both areas of the game. Not only that, his presence should help reduce some of the strain off Jacobs after suffering injuries down the stretch of the last two seasons.