On paper, the signing seemed redundant. After all, Drake had 264 touches and over 1,000 yards of total offense last season, and Vegas already has a pretty good bell cow back in Josh Jacobs, one of the team’s 2019 first-round picks.
However, Gruden is adamant that there’s enough room for both to have an impact in 2021. He’s spoken of Drake’s versatility and purpose over the last two months, most recently during an interview on the team’s “The Raiders Report” television show.
“A lot of people say ‘Why Kenyan Drake?'” Gruden said. “Well, Doug Martin had 190 touches three years ago when [Marshawn] Lynch went down. DeAndre Washington had 144 touches when Jacobs went down two years ago. And this past year, Josh went down and Devontae Booker got 110 touches. So we’re going to try to circulate the touches Kenyan Drake’s way. He’s a guy that’s made big plays.”
Drake doesn’t seem to be stressing about how he’ll fit in. In an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio shortly after signing his two-year, $11 million (8.5 million guaranteed) deal back in March, Drake said he thinks he and Jacobs can be a “Thunder and Lightning” tandem.
“I think what our styles kinda complement each other the most with is his bruising, attacking ability and my ability to do the same with a little bit more pace in the open field,” Drake said. “That would kinda give us almost a classic thunder and lightning type of feel.”
Additionally, Drake is used to splitting carries. He did so throughout his college career at Alabama and every year in the NFL until last season.