Analyst have called the Dolphins’ 2nd round pick, Kenyan Drake, a poor man’s Reggie Bush. This raises the question: What about Drake is like Reggie Bush? Many dolphins fans will remember Bush’s famous leaps to the endzone. Drake’s film at Alabama has no shortage of those. It seems that if a team can get a player like that within five yards of the endzone, Drake can fly it in. This is good news for a team like the Dolphins, who make frequent redzone trips, but also come up empty handed a high percentage of the time. It’s a 46% failure rate if one counts field goals as a failure.
Some detractors to Drake’s tape are that he has a higher center of gravity and lots of help from Alabama’s powerful offensive line. Many successful running backs in the currently popular NFL schemes have a “bowling ball frame,” short and stout. This is because a lower center of gravity makes it more difficult to knock a running back off balance. Drake does not fit this prototype. His frame is somewhat lankier. Additionally, Drake is helped by superb blocking. In clips of most snaps, Alabama’s line provides blocks in a way that most of the time Drake only has to manage two or fewer defenders. It will be interesting to see how successful Drake will be against NFL caliber pursuit, or if the Dolphins fail to provide adequate run-blocking.
The positive takeaways from Drake’s tape are that he will deliver a hit, and runs north and south with speed over power. Drake is the type of back who will hit with power at the end of the run. This is good for a few yards at the end of most runs. It also has the potential to intimidate defenders over the course of the game. Unfortunately, this type of hitting can be coached out of a player, as in the case of Reggie Bush and Joe Philbin. It will be interesting to see if Gase encourages or discourages this type of hitting. Regardless, this type of hitting is often considered an asset to “north and south running,” however, Drake actually relies on his speed for this type of running. Most of Drake’s tape shows him accelerating before contact can be made by the first one or two defenders. Much ado is made about whether a back is a “one cut guy” or a “two cut guy” but Drake seems to avoid cuts altogether. I counted very few cuts while analyzing his tape. He simply rounds the corner then accelerates.