Is Drake the featured running back Miami needs?


A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about the Dolphins needing a number one running back for next season. Since then, Kenyan Drake has done everything possible to prove he should be Miami’s featured back in 2018.

When the Dolphins traded Jay Ajayi after the seventh game of the season it looked as if they would ride out Damien Williams and Kenyan Drake for the rest of the year, and either draft or pick up a number one running back through free agency in the offseason.

Kenyan Drake had a different idea.

The second year running back from Alabama has burst onto the scene in the last month, and has found ways to make an impact once Ajayi was traded.

Since the Oakland game week 9, Drake’s stats show he’s capable of being a star running back.

Drake has 109 carries for 566 yards and three touchdowns rushing in the last eight games. That is 5.2 yards per carry.

To give you a better idea of how good Drake has been; he is T-5th in the NFL in yards per carry for the season at 4.8 YPC. The RB he is tied with is Kareem Hunt.

That includes the first seven games of the season when Drake had 10 carries for 25 yards total. Hunt started all 15 games for Kansas City. Drake only started the last five for Miami.

Perhaps the best trait about Drake is his ability to perform well in all three phases of the game at the running back position; running, pass catching and blocking (blitz pickups).

Out of the backfield Drake has 26 receptions for 217 yards and a touchdown in the last eight games. That is 8.3 yards per catch.

Combine the rushing and receiving and Drake is averaging 97.9 yards from scrimmage with four touchdowns for the Dolphins in the last half of the season. And remember, Damien Williams started the first three games after the Ajayi trade.

Drake has done all of this starting just five games for Miami.

As for pass blocking, this clip from Travis Wingfield of Locked On Dolphins shows all you need to see.

Drake picks up blitzes on a consistent basis when asked to stay in the backfield and block. There are not many stats out there that show how good a RB is at blocking, but watch the film and it is easy to see Drake has that ability.

One more thing to note about Drake is his knack to make defenders miss. In the last four games, he has forced 17 missed tackles, according to Pro Football Focus. That is tied for 1st in the NFL.

Now, should the Dolphins still find a solid number two option behind Drake in the offseason? Absolutely. Whether it is in the draft or through free agency, Miami still needs to find another running back, even if they bring Williams back.

But the bottom line is Kenyan Drake has all the tools to be Miami’s featured running back in 2018.