Analysis ChiefsTake Opinion

Could Kenyan Drake be a solution for KC at running back?

Free agent RB Kenyan Drake turned a lot of heads last season. After being traded to the Arizona Cardinals from the Miami Dolphins, Drake shined in the starter role. On the season he rushed for 817 yards and eight TDs. He averaged 4.8 yards per carry. And those numbers have some Chiefs fans longing for him to come to Kansas City. But is Drake the answer at running back?

Kenyan Drake is a back that uses his lateral quickness and vision to explode through holes or beat defenders around the outside. With 4.45 speed he can run away from would-be tacklers once he finds a seam. Drake has the talent to be a starting RB in the NFL and he proved that last year in Arizona. It is understandable why fans are clamoring for him in a Chiefs uniform.

But what about Damien Williams? He is already on the roster as the Chiefs just picked up his 2020 contract option. Williams and Drake are similar styled running backs. Williams also has 4.45 speed and is dangerous running to the outside. Williams averaged 4.5 yards per carry last year, similar to Drake. He had 59 fewer carries and 319 fewer yards. If we use Williams’ yards per carry number to figure how many more yards he would have had with the extra 59 carries, his numbers would have been almost identical to Drake’s statistics. Judging by these numbers, they are basically the same running backs. So why would Kansas City be interested in Drake?

Yes, looking at Drake’s overall numbers from last season he doesn’t seem like an upgrade. But remember, he spent half the year in Miami where he was not the featured back. Once he arrived in Arizona, his numbers improved dramatically. He started all eight games he played for the Cardinals. He rushed for 643 yards on 123 carries, averaging 5.2 yards per rush. All eight of his TDs last season he scored while playing for the Cardinals. Drake averaged 80.4 yards per game which almost doubles Williams’ output. It is Drake’s numbers in Arizona that have Chiefs fans salivating about the idea of adding him to an already potent offense.

If the Chiefs are indeed interested in Drake, they will probably have to spend quite a bit of money to get him. The Cardinals placed the transition franchise tag on him which means Arizona has the right to match any offer he receives in free agency. In other words, if the Chiefs want him, they would have to offer him enough money to out-bid the Cardinals. With the Chiefs needing to sign other players and the Cardinals having much more cap space, this seems highly unlikely.

That being said, we all know that when Brett Veach has his sights on a player, he has the ability to move mountains to get that player signed. The question then comes down to if Veach sees Drake as a perfect fit or if he wants to roll with the players he already has on the roster.

Considering that Kansas City just picked up Williams’ contract option and Drake might be too expensive to pursue; it seems doubtful that we will see Drake in a Chiefs uniform. One could certainly make the case that Drake would be an upgrade and I must admit I like the idea of adding another playmaker to this offense. But let’s remember how well Damien Williams played in the playoffs last year. If not for missing games due to injury, he might have produced better numbers in the regular season as well. The Chiefs also have Darrel Williams and Darwin Thompson on the roster. Darrel played well when given the chance and Thompson could be a surprise weapon for KC. At this point, I think the Chiefs are fine at RB.

Disclaimer: ChiefsTake or “Hot Take” articles are not necessarily the opinion of Arrowhead Live and the entirety of it’s staff.

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