The hate Kenyan Drake is getting is absolutely unfathomable.
All off-season I’ve heard from my fellow writers and other Arizona Cardinals fans that Kenyan Drake couldn’t get the job done or he was whatever choice word one could use to describe him. Don’t get it twisted, I expected a little more from Drake myself, but there were a few things that took a lot of production from him than what we saw in 2019.
Now it’s up to the running back to make plays when he sees (or doesn’t) an opportunity to do so. The Arizona Cardinals keeping Kenyan Drake is absolutely critical to having a respectable running game. Let’s face it, Aaron Jones is most likely not going to come to the desert. So what other running backs are going to be better than Drake?
Chase Edmonds hasn’t ever been a consistent runner, so that’s out of the equation. There is also always a chance another RB could be drafted in the first round, but we’ll see if that actually happens come April.
Kenyan Drake got more yards later in games
It’s also good to remember this is a pass-first offense, so why are we getting mad at the running back? He was the reason we had any actual chance in the game against New England and the final matchup against San Francisco as being the only person to score offensive touchdowns. On top of this, Drake became more effective as the game went along.
Looking at his game splits, we can see that as the game went longer, the more his rushing yards went up. Of course one may wish these were more equal, but it proves a point that he is wearing down the defense when it matters most. When you can get that many yards in the 3rd and 4th quarter, then things have a much better chance at going your way.
He had a CAREER year, despite Kyler Murray taking the ball often
Another reason I can’t understand the silly claims that Kenyan Drake couldn’t get it done is that he posted a career high in rushing yards and touchdowns. He most likely would’ve hit 1,000 yards had Murray not been so effective with the ball early on in the year. 10 touchdowns also is the most by a RB since David Johnson had 16 in 2016 himself. Tim Hightower and Beanie Wells also are a part of the double-digit rush TD club.
For both Murray and Drake to have 10+ rushing touchdowns is incredible, considering that no one else has had more than 11 rushing touchdowns (other than Johnson) since the 1962 season! While Drake could use some work in the receiving department, that is alright by my eyes. Edmonds can keep that role in the offense. Also, when Drake averaged 4.0ypc, that is fantastic in the pass-happy NFL. That is definitely “getting it done”.
I really wish there would be more recognition of how good the team has it with Kenyan Drake. Also after using the transition tag on him last year, it only suggests that he’s going to be here for the long run.