Though the Dolphins continue hyping up Frank Gore‘s corpse and a committee backfield approach, Kenyan Drake’s dominant Preseason play may force them to reconsider. Most recently, the former ‘Bama back racked up 68 total yards on just 5 touches versus Baltimore, and has now taken 15 preseason carries for 102 yards (6.8 YPC), while racking up 5 catches and 47 yards in the receiving game.
Dating back to last season’s epic stretch run, Drake has consistently flashed more than enough “Individual Talent” to supersede his glaring “Surrounding Talent” and “Usage” question marks. He comes with enormous upside as an RB2.
Constantly overshadowed at Alabama, Drake has never been a true “Bell Cow.” Following Damien Williams‘ Week 12 injury, however, Drake flashed his workhorse potential, shouldering 20+ touches for three straight weeks (13-15) and scoring as the RB4 in this span. His 444 rushing yards during this final five weeks led the league. More importantly, he posted the most yards after contact per attempt (4.29) ever recorded by PFF — highly necessary, considering his line graded as the worst run-blocking in the league.
This preseason, Drake’s again flashed the ability to transcend what appears to be a “Fantasy Wasteland” situation. He continues escaping congested situations with his insane ability to first make tacklers miss and then zip up the field in a hurry. He’s been used on a multitude of pass-routes, from deep flies and wheels, to screens and short hitches.
Plus, maybe the Dolphins offense isn’t quite the Dumpster Fire we expect. Returning QB Ryan Tannehill went 11-of-16 for 115 and a TD while leading consecutive scoring drives in the preseason dress rehearsal, and finishes the preseason at 29-of-39 (74%), 247, and a TD with 0 turnovers. The Dolphins have acquired the right YAC WRs to execute Adam Gase‘s screen-heavy attack, and the results are promising.
All-in-all, after being one of our “Overpriced” Players to begin the Preseason, Drake’s forcing us to reconsider. Even if Gore’s worked in, Drake’s averaging 7.5 yards a touch and should do plenty of damage even if just on 15ish weekly looks. And that’s just the floor.
In Drake’s favor, Gase has historically ridden a true workhorse and facilitated monstrous backfield production, even if he claims to never want to ride a single guy for 25 carries a game. From 2013-2016, Gase facilitated four straight RB1 campaigns:
- Knowshon Moreno finished as the 2013 RB4 with 1586 Yards from Scrimmage (YFS) to pair with 13 total TDs
- CJ Anderson racked up nearly 1200 yards and 10 total TDs in only seven 2014 starts
- Matt Forte tallied 1287 YFS and 7 TDs in just 13 games in 2015
- Jay Ajayi hit 1423 YFS and 8 TDs in 12 2016 starts.
Thus, Drake’s floor feels fairly secure thanks to his efficiency and ability to make plays amidst a horrid situation. The ceiling is also astronomical if Father Time finally catches Gore, or Gase realizes just how special Drake is and returns to his workhorse ways.