The Las Vegas Raiders invested a first-round pick on Josh Jacobs in 2019 and since then, Jacobs has rushed for 2,215 yards and 19 touchdowns, the sixth most in the past two seasons.
So when the Raiders signed Kenyan Drake on March 18 to a two-year deal that could be worth up to $14.5 million, it caused some confusion around the NFL. ESPN’s Matt Bowen said the signing is this offseason’s biggest head-scratcher.
Drake can fit in multiple NFL offenses given his one-cut running style and short-area speed. But I question why Las Vegas would give Drake a two-year deal — with $11 million in guarantees — to take touches away from Josh Jacobs. Remember, Jacobs is a volume runner in Jon Gruden’s power scheme.
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said that he plans to use Drake more in the passing game, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Drake caught 53 passes in 2018, 50 in 2019 and averaged 7.9 yards per catch.
However, Drake’s production in the passing game declined in 2020, as he only caught 25 passes for 137 yards with the Cardinals and was phased out by Chase Edmonds. Edmonds was more active, compiling 402 receiving yards in 2020.
ESPN’s Seth Walder also had an issue with the move, saying that running back was not a position of need for the Raiders, especially after trading away key pieces of their offensive line.
This move came after the Raiders traded center Rodney Hudson to the Cardinals and tackle Trent Brown to the New England Patriots. With a depleted offensive line, ESPN’s Kevin Seifert also had the Drake signing as his most confusing offseason addition.
The Raiders dismantling their offensive line and not using the money aggressively to address their defense. They did, however, guarantee Drake $6.75 million despite having Jacobs signed for at least two more years under the terms of his rookie contract.
Drake rushed for 1,598 yards and 18 touchdowns in 23 games with the Cardinals after being acquired in a midseason trade in 2019, but only averaged four yards per carry in 2020.