Las Vegas Raiders: Overall impact of signing RB Kenyan Drake
What is the impact on the Raiders and Josh Jacobs?
The addition of Drake will undoubtedly have an impact on the role of Josh Jacobs as the unquestioned lead back in Las Vegas. The former first-round pick has averaged around 18 carries per game over the last two seasons and was more involved in the passing game as a second-year back.
We can expect Jacobs’ overall touches to decrease as the Raiders will see Drake as more of the 1B running back versus a clear backup like Devontae Booker in 2020 or DeAndre Washington in 2019. Drake will eat into some of those touches from Jacobs but the idea of having two starting-caliber running backs available at all times must be a mouth-watering prospect for Gruden.
This move also likely means the end of Jalen Richard’s tenure with the Raiders as the former undrafted free agent saw his role dwindle in 2020 and he is due $3.5 million this season. He could be released and brought back at a lower cost or the Raiders could simply find another back that could fill his role for the minimum.
Reactions have been mixed on the move but they have been largely negative considering the defensive needs for the Raiders and those points certainly have merit. Paying a running back $11 million over two years that is not your starter seems unwise considering how bad the defense was in 2020.
The rationale for Gruden and Mayock must have been that they see him as much more than a running back and they are spending so little on wide receivers that they can afford to bring talent like Drake at that price. We should expect the Raiders to be able to pass on adding a running back or even a receiver in the draft as this move solidifies both position groups in a way.
Every move will have its detractors and supporters but it is clear that everything Jon Gruden does will be under the microscope and viewed skeptically until he can turn the Raiders back into a winner.