Throughout most of the offseason, the Dolphins continued to search for a running back to fill the void left by 26-year old Lamar Miller. Miami was unwilling to agree to terms with the play-making running back, requiring the team to look elsewhere for his replacement. The Dolphins had an agreement in place with C.J Anderson, until Elway and the Broncos swooped in at the last second, matching Miami’s offer. The team missed out on Chris Johnson, and have kept a watchful eye on Arian Foster throughout the offseason. In the end, the Dolphins chose to draft Kenyan Drake and believe he is the perfect running back to pair alongside Jay Ajayi in Adam Gase’s offense.
Who is Kenyan Drake?
Kenyan Drake has always been a playmaker on the football field. In his hometown of Powder Springs, Georgia, Drake put up impressive numbers at Hillgrove High School. During his senior year, Drake rushed for 1,610 yards and 18 touchdowns. He received the Football Player of the Year award in the state of Georgia. After a thorough process, Drake decided to commit to the University of Alabama.
As a true freshman in 2012, Drake was the team’s No.3 running back behind Eddie Lacy and T.J Yeldon. Despite only receiving 41 carries, he managed to rush for 281 yards and 5 touchdowns. After Eddie Lacy jettisoned to the NFL, Drake would position himself behind T.J Yeldon, on the Crimson Tide’s depth chart. In 2013, Drake carried the ball 92 times for 694 yards and 8 touchdowns, a significant improvement from his freshman year. During his junior year, Drake suffered a broken leg that sidelined the explosive running back for the remainder of the 2014 season.
In 2015, his senior year, Drake was once again forced to watch as another talented running back carried the majority of Alabama's workload. Despite the lack of opportunities, Drake managed to amass 408 yards and one touchdown, in addition to 276 yards, and a touchdown through the air. He also scored a crucial touchdown against Clemson in the 2016 National Championship game.
The Dolphins selected Kenyan Drake in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
If you want proof Kenyan Drake is a playmaker, look no further then his 95-yard kickoff return in the 2016 National Championship Game. He showcases his 4.45 speed and his ability to make defenders miss. Once Drake gets the edge, no one is going to catch him.
Here is another angle from ESPN's Pylon cam.
On this play, Drake once again uses his elite speed to get to the edge. Once he's around the edge, he cuts back to the middle of the field, resulting in additional yardage. Here you can see the Reggie Bush comparison, and what he is capable of doing when given the opportunity.
Drake is decisive with the ball in his hands. Here, he explodes through the line, making the linebacker miss in the open field. He then puts a nice move on the defensive back, before eventually getting tackled for a nice gain.
On this play, Drake uses his vision to cut back to the strong side of the formation. His speed is apparent, as he outruns trailing defenders. Before heading to the sideline, Drake uses his quickness to break the defender's ankles.
One little stutter and Drake is gone, barely touched for a 50-yard touchdown,
Kenyan Drake also has a spin move in his arsenal of weapons.
Here, Drake follows his blockers, before avoiding a tackle with a brilliant spin move.
He may not be the biggest or strongest running back, but Drake makes the most out of every carry. On this play, Drake avoids several would-be tacklers, before bulldozing his way into the end zone. He does whatever it takes to put his team in position to win.
Here, you can see just how dangerous Kenyan Drake can be in the passing game. He manages to take a short, well executed screen pass and turn it into an easy touchdown. I expect to see a lot of Drake in the passing game, adding another dimension to Adam Gase's offense.
Kenyan Drake is still very raw in terms of his fundamentals and it will be up to the Dolphins' coaching staff to help him progress. Drake has a knack for getting a bit too antsy with the ball in his hands. He needs to become a more patient running back, anticipating the play rather than forcing it. Often times, Drake gets a bit over zealous, missing an assignment or failing to see an open run lane. He must also get better at protecting the football, averaging a fumble in every 39.9 offensive touches. These are all things he must improve on if he wants to make an impact at the next level.
Though a playmaker in the passing game, Drake needs to continue to work on his route running. He also dropped several passes during his days at Alabama. He must continue to grow as a pass blocker, showing off his ability to chip and block frantic pass rushers. Lastly, Drake's injury history was a big concern for most NFL teams, but the Dolphins believe strongly in their sports science program. They have not shied away from players with previous injury concerns, and remained loyal to the process.
Whether or not Kenyan Drake will ever be a three-down running back is anyone’s guess. For now, the Dolphins are looking to add a change-of-pace running back alongside Jay Ajayi. Coaches believe Ajayi has the skill-set to be a featured back in the NFL, but are intrigued by what Drake brings to Gase’s offense. As seen above, Drake is a speedster in a similar mold as Reggie Bush. He is a mismatch nightmare for opposing defenses, and can make a significant impact in both the run and pass games. Though he must continue to improve as a pass blocker, Drake should find an immediate role as the Dolphins third-down running back. He might also get a look on special teams, where he proved he can make game-changing plays throughout his collegiate career. If Drake can stay healthy, he should have a prominent role in 2016 and beyond. Kenyan Drake is the lightning, to Jay Ajayi’s thunder.
All clips were taken from draftbreakdown.com
This article was written by Josh Houtz. Follow him on Twitter!