Raiders: 2022 two-deep prediction for the offensive skill positions
RB2: Kenyan Drake
While marking Jacobs as the Raiders’ RB1 is on the safer side, predicting the team’s running back no.2 is a bit harder. This is due to Kenyan Drake’s presence, who spent the ’19 and ’20 seasons as a starting NFL running back before signing a 2-year contract with Las Vegas, worth up to $11M, in addition to 2022 draft pick, Zamir White, being on the roster.
First, let me talk about Zamir White, or as he’s more commonly referred to as, Zues. In college football’s most recent season, Zeus played a huge role in propelling Georgia to the National Championship, and ultimately claiming the top prize. In the big game last season, taken place as recent as this calendar year, White rushed for 84-yards on an impressive 6.5 yards per carry, including an early touchdown run.
White helped take home a National Championship to cap off his college tenure, in which he picked up a combined 2,043 yards on the ground.
Now, the important question – Has Zeus proven enough at a lower-level to overtake an established starting-caliber NFL running back in Kenyan Drake? I have to believe the answer is no.
To go back to something I said a bit earlier; “If there’s any coach who will help Jacobs take yet another leap forward in [the passing game], it’s Josh McDaniels”. I stated this due to how McDaniels uses running backs, specifically, as pass catchers. For Drake, this is his bread and butter.
Over Drake’s six-year career, the former Alabama running back has recorded 1,535-yards through the air, with 7 being taken to the house. No one knows better than Raider Nation when it comes to Drake’s prowess as a pass catcher, as many witnessed the running back score on a 35-yard reception to close out the first-half of a week-6 faceoff against Denver.
Simply put, this isn’t Zues. White’s most recent campaign at Georgia resulted in 75-yards through the air, marking the most receiving yardage the ’22 fourth-round pick accumulated in one season. Altogether, Zeus finished his time at Georgia with 132-yards on receptions.
To cover a question some might have when reading this – If the Raiders are satisfied with Josh Jacobs as the starting running back, and Drake as the RB2, why draft White?
That question has 2 answers: 1, general manager Dave Ziegler has been open about the Raiders’ ‘Best player available’ approach throughout the most recent NFL draft, and 2, with both the abovementioned running backs on the final-year of their contracts, it’s never a bad idea to have a plan-B in the event things go south. No denying there’s a vision for Zues in the future, but for now, Drake and Jacobs still run the unit.