Talented running back Kenyan Drake may soon take over as the number-one running back on the Arizona Cardinals depth chart
For the past three years, the Arizona Cardinals have exercised patience with running back David Johnson. The 27-year old has not been the same player since he suffered a season-ending wrist injury early on in 2017. Unfortunately for Johnson, the Cards have someone on the roster who appears to be more than capable of taking his starting job from him.
Arizona’s acquisition of Kenyan Drake on October 28th came as quite a surprise. At first glance, it appeared that the former Miami Dolphin would be a temporary replacement for the injured Johnson. Backup Chase Edmonds was sidelined as well, so many believed that Drake was brought in merely to pick up the slack until the regulars got healthy again.
It now appears, two weeks after the trade, that Drake could play a much bigger role with the Cardinals going forward. Johnson, in his first action since October 20th, was plain awful this past Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Cards third-round draft pick in 2015 barely resembles the explosive workhorse that was voted to the Pro Bowl following his sophomore campaign.
Going against the NFL’s top-rated rush defense, Johnson registered just two yards on five carries. The 6’1, 224 pounder’s one reception on the day also ended in disaster. Johnson took a Kyler Murray pass and gained eight yards, only to be stripped by linebacker Lavonte David at the Buccaneers 11-yard line.
While Drake did nothing special versus Tampa Bay, his outing was significantly better than Johnson’s. The 6’1, 211 pounder carried the rock 10 times for 35 yards, and caught six passes for six yards. While Drake at least showed signs of life against a stout Buccaneers front, Johnson looked more like a dead man walking.
Before the problems with his back and ankle arose, Johnson had been putting up decent numbers in 2019. In eight games, the Northern Iowa product has accumulated 302 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Johnson has also hauled in 31 passes for 323 yards and another three scores.
Just three days after arriving in the desert, Drake was absolutely outstanding in a matchup with the San Francisco 49ers on Halloween night. The former third-round selection of the Dolphins carried the rock 15 times for 110 yards and a touchdown during the nationally-televised contest. In addition, Drake racked up another 52 yards on four catches against their surging division foe.
Arizona’s Kliff Kingsbury has a tough decision to make. The head coach needs to put players in the lineup who will give him the best chance of winning. It’s becoming more and more obvious that Drake should be included in that group.