Just like many other communities, the fantasy football community very much can have a herd mentality. Memes get mentioned by experts which get repeated on Twitter and your favorite fantasy websites and most people take the meme as fact. A recent meme is that Kenyan Drake is only a third down back for the Dolphins. I’m here to tell you not to believe the stereotype.
Kenyan Drake was essentially the third down back for Alabama last year, behind Derrick Henry during his 2016 Heisman Trophy winning season, so I get where the expectations are coming from. Because he was behind Henry and due to a broken leg in 2014 and an arm injury in 2015 he was little used at Alabama. It’s tough to make any judgments about his future based on his past because there is very little to go on and he was behind a Heisman Trophy winning teammate. When he was on the field, he was a home run hitter and his explosiveness was on display. At the combine, Drake measured at 6’1″ and 210 lbs. and ran a 4.45 forty time. This calculates to a speed score of 1o7.1 which is plenty good for a back his size. Let’s take a look at his Quad Scores which also tell a story:
|Name||Speed Score||Agility Score||Leg Power Score||Arm Strength Score||Quad
You can see that his Arm Strength score is well below average because he only benched 10 reps at 225 which is well below average for a RB. If you assume for a moment that he will increase his upper body strength in an NFL weight room, the rest of the score is there, so his total Quad Score is a bit deceptive. He has better than average speed, agility and leg power to succeed in the NFL.
Finally, he falls to a situation in Miami where the only back that can match his talent is Jay Ajayi, a talented fifth-round back with injury risk. Recall he fell in the draft last year due to concerns his knee may have a chronic condition that could shorten his NFL career. The others on the roster include career backups Damien Williams, Isaiah Pead and Daniel Thomas. Miami has come out and said that there will be an open competition at running back, yet still this third down back meme persists. I don’t believe that Drake will start the year over Ajayi as Ajayi showed quite a bit last year and has plenty of potential himself. But if he gets injured there is nobody else on the roster than can do what Drake does athletically and my bet would be it will be hard to keep him off the field, especially later in the year when he gets a feel for the game.
One last thing, a lot is said about Drake’s slight build and he is tall and thin for a RB. But let’s have some perspective here. Drake is 6’1″ and 210 lbs. coming into the NFL while Adrian Peterson was 6’1″ and 217 lbs. coming into the NFL. Do I think Drake is the next Peterson? Of course not. But let’s stop with the foolishness that he doesn’t have the size to be an NFL back. NFL backs typically add weight though muscle building between their rookie and second year. There is no doubt by the beginning of season 2 for Drake he will be sculpted, strong and with very similar size/weight traits to one of the very best RBs in the NFL.
So, there is no doubt that Drake CAN fill the third down role if that’s what Miami wants him to start out doing. With a little strengthening, a little coaching and an injury in front of him and there is no doubt Drake has the size and the skill to be an every down back. Don’t believe the stereotype!00