Apparently people do not yet know his name. They will.
Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake is set to become a major factor in the team’s offense, and in the NFL, in 2018. After being behind Jay Ajayi and Damien Williams at the start of 2017, Drake was thrust into the starting (feature) role late for the final five games of the season when Ajayi was traded and Williams was injured. Drake did not miss his opportunity.
After averaging 3.8 carries a game for the first 11 contests last year, Drake jumped to 18.2 carries the final five weeks, with an average of 88.8 yards per game. Over those five weeks, he led the league in rushing yards and looked like the running back to carry Miami’s offense.
In 2018, he will be given that chance. Pro Football Focus, in an article released Thursday, described Drake as one of the “NFL’s top secret superstars on offense.”
As the aforementioned Dawkins flourished when forced into a starting role, so too did Drake a season ago once the Dolphins traded Jay Ajayi to the Eagles. Playing a meager 46 snaps through the first half of the season, from Week 9 onward, only Alex Collins, Alvin Kamara and Todd Gurley had a higher rushing grade than Drake’s 81.8. Playing behind a poor offensive line, he averaged a monstrous 4.5 yards after contact (best in the NFL by 0.6 yards) breaking 24 tackles in the process. He’s still got work to do as a receiver, dropping 5-of-37 catchable balls, but if he can sort that out, he’s been well above average as a pass-protector, making him a completely viable three-down back.
The Dolphins expect Drake to be their lead-back, but will not rely on him solely, as Frank Gore and Kalen Ballage are also expected to contribute. That said, Drake does appear ready to become a superstar, and at least one publication agrees.