The Raiders already have one Alabama running back, so why not add another?
Las Vegas has signed Kenyan Drake to a two-year, $14.5 million deal, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported the deal is for $11 million, but incentives can push it to the $14.5 million mark.
The Raiders will be Drake's third team in his relatively short NFL career, following stints with Miami and Arizona. It was with the Cardinals that Drake truly flourished, gaining 1,598 yards on the ground on 362 carries between half of the 2019 season and 15 games played in 2020. In 23 games with the Cardinals, Drake's rushing totals surpassed his output over 54 games in Miami, proving the importance of fit. Drake also caught 53 passes for 308 yards in his season and a half with the Cardinals, serving as the team's lead running back in Kliff Kingsbury's spread offense.
The Raiders plan to increase Drake's involvement in the latter, which makes the matter of fit additionally intriguing. Jon Gruden sees Drake as a jack of all trades in his offense, figuring prominently in the passing game, per Rapoport.
Such a role would make his tandem with a fellow former Crimson Tide rusher and the Raiders' definitive lead back, Josh Jacobs, easier to project. As the first Raider in franchise history to rush for 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons, Jacobs remains the proverbial bell cow in this backfield, but it opens the door for more personnel variety (i.e., two-back sets) that can create misdirection and confusion for opposing defenses.
The money seems to be a bit much for a secondary or tandem back, but the Raiders appear set on their intentions with their Alabama backfield. We'll see if it works out as imagined.