2017 Miami Dolphins Preview – Kenyan Drake


We continue our 2017 Dolphins preview as the team gets ready for training camp. Next up on our list – sophomore running back Kenyan Drake.

The Miami Dolphins rookies begin training camp today, and the veterans will join them next week. We can finally say that football season is upon us! For Kenyan Drake, this is a season to prove to the coaching staff that he belongs higher on the depth chart, and to become a pivotal part of Miami’s offense and special teams.

As a rookie, Drake was actually pretty impressive. Unfortunately, he did not get very many opportunities to showcase his skills set. A large part of that was because of the breakout season of Jay Ajayi, who finished the year with over 1,200 yards rushing, including three 200-yard games. Drake had some inconsistencies for sure, but it’s kind of hard to find the field sometimes when the guy in front of you is such a monster.

To Drake’s credit, however, he did his best with the limited time that he received. Although he saw just 33 carries all season, Drake did finish with an impressive 5.4 YPC with two touchdowns. One of those touchdowns, a 45-yarder in Week 16 against Buffalo, proved pivotal in Miami’s overtime victory that would clinch them a playoff berth.

Drake actually had another crucial touchdown in Week 9 against the Jets. This time though it was as a returner, as Drake returned a kickoff 96 yards for the go-ahead score that would eventually be the game winner. For 2017, we may see an increased role for Drake as a return specialist.

Originally, Miami drafted Jakeem Grant in 2016 to be the team’s primary return guy. While Grant did receive more opportunities than Drake, and was the primary punt returner, Drake was more productive at returning kicks. On kickoffs, Drake finished 2016 with an average of 30.5 yards per average, whereas Grant only averaged 23.1 with zero touchdowns. Grant did return a touchdown on a punt so don’t be surprised if Grant is handed the primary duties on punts, and Drake on kickoffs.

For Drake to become more involved on the offense it will be a challenge, but not impossible. Ajayi is the team’s consensus #1 running back, but Drake has the opportunity to challenge Damien Williams as the lead backup. Williams filled that role last season, but Drake has a realistic chance of taking it from him starting in training camp.

If Adam Gase gets his wish by getting Ajayi 350 carries this season, then there’s not going to be much else to go around, regardless, of where Drake is on the depth chart. But if he can produce in those limited moments, similar to how he did as a rookie, then he’ll be just fine.

Related Story: Jay Ajayi Preview

Drake showed a lot of potential as a rookie, and despite limited touches, has the opportunity to be an impact player for Miami. His greatest challenge will be himself, however, as he tries to keep his name off of the injury report. Drake was successful for the most part in this category as a rookie, appearing in every game of the regular season. He did have a hamstring injury early that kept him sidelined for three of Miami’s four preseason games. His collegiate-career, on the other hand, was filled with situations that kept him sidelined, including two suspensions.

Thankfully, Drake has shown those around him a maturation since his college days so let’s hope he keeps himself out of trouble. Drake’s injury history, however, which includes a gruesome leg injury in October 2014 in a game against Ole Miss, will always be a concern. To his credit, he’s always fought back and answered the challenge. With hard work and dedication, there’s little reason to believe that he won’t answer the challenge should Miami call his name to step up.