Kenyan Drake

Cardinals GM Steve Keim On Drake, Fitzgerald, Offseason

It was somewhat surprising when the Cardinals traded for Kenyan Drake in advance of this year’s deadline, given that Arizona was clearly not going to make a postseason run and given that Drake is eligible for unrestricted free agency in March. But GM Steve Keim saw something he liked in the former Dolphins RB and wanted to secure exclusive negotiating rights with him.

Drake has not disappointed, averaging 4.8 yards-per-carry in his six games in Arizona to go along with five scores and 22 receptions for 130 yards. Keim touched on Drake’s future with the team and several other key issues facing the Cardinals this offseason, including Larry Fitzgerald‘s future, in an interview with Darren Urban of

On the Drake trade:

“The mindset of going into the trade, it wasn’t done because we had two backs that were injured and was sort of a stop-gap situation. If that was a the case, my mindset was I would’ve signed a guy off the street. We truly thought this was the type of player Kenyan Drake was. That’s why we made trade and hope this was the kind of success he would have.”

On his hopes of re-signing Drake, and when he might try to do it:

“As far as waiting until after the season (to re-sign Drake), that’s not necessarily the thing either. I would certainly love to have Kenyan Drake back. I think he fits in this offense and he really has given us a spark in many ways.”

On Fitzgerald’s future (for Fitzgerald’s thoughts, see here):

“We would love to have him back. We all know what he brings to the organization. But the one thing you want to do with a player like him is give him the respect he deserves. Allow him to make that decision on his own. But I will say this. This is maybe the most fun I’ve seen him have in the last four years. He’s playing at a high level. I know he likes [head coach] Kliff [Kingsbury] and I know he likes this offense. Doesn’t hurt to have a guy (in quarterback Kyler Murray) who can spin it to him like this too.”

Keim said he will look to upgrade the Cardinals’ O-line this offseason, though he thinks the team’s high sack total is partly due to Murray’s style of play:

“I think Kyler would be the first to tell you there have been quite a few sacks given up that are on him. There has been times when I thought our offensive line has given him the type of protection he’s needed.”

On Murray himself:

“[T]here is no doubt in my mind we hit it through the roof. It’s one thing to be ultra-talented, but the guys who are the great ones, just when everybody thinks they have worked hard and done enough, those guys go above and beyond. There are up late night watching film, trying to find little tells that people don’t see. Just so the speed of the game slows down.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins To Trade Kenyan Drake To Cardinals

The Cardinals have reached agreement on a trade to acquire Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake, Adam Schefter of tweets. In the deal, the Dolphins will acquire a conditional sixth-round pick in 2020 that can become a fifth-rounder. 

Drake will help to reinforce a Cardinals RB group that badly needs the support. Star David Johnson is expected to miss this week’s game due to an ankle injury and Chase Edmonds, a key fill-in, suffered a hamstring injury of his own over the weekend. Drake now figures to see significant work against the 49ers on Thursday night.

Drake gives the Cardinals a clear boost in the near term, but he does not necessarily give them a building block for 2020 and beyond. He’ll be a free agent after the season, so they’ll have some work to do if Drake impresses in the second half of the season. For the here and now: the Cardinals seem to believe in their roster and like their chances of climbing out of a 3-4-1 hole.

The Dolphins, meanwhile, seem to be keeping their eyes on the prize – a top draft pick in 2020. With no hope of contending this year, they’ve bolstered their draft capital and unloaded a player who was unlikely to suit up again in Miami.

Drake did not travel with the Dolphins for tonight’s game against the Steelers, a move that foretold a Drake deal. The Lions and Titans were linked to Drake, but the Cardinals seem to have wanted him more.

Miami’s bottom-tier offensive line has struggled this season, and Drake is averaging a career-low 3.7 yards per carry. However, the former third-round pick posted 4.8- and 4.5-yard YPC averages in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Drake, 25, has not rushed for 50 yards in a game this season, but he surpassed 1,000 yards from scrimmage in a part-time role last year and has just 333 career carries under his belt.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Drake, Eagles, Giants, Winston

The Lions were dealt a tough blow when they lost Kerryon Johnson to a knee injury, and they’re apparently planning on replacing him with outside help. Detroit has been “aggressively scouring the running back market” for potential trades, according to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Kenyan Drake is expected to be dealt by Miami in the next day or so, and we’ve already heard the Lions were interested. Robinson points out that Dolphins coach Brian Flores has a longstanding relationship with Lions coach Matt Patricia, which could help facilitate a deal. While the Lions need a running back and Drake is on the move, don’t necessarily bank on him landing in Detroit. It “didn’t sound like the Lions were close to anything on the trade front,” after speaking with a source, tweets Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • There are a few teams looking for offensive tackle help, most openly the Browns. We’ve hear Eagles backup Halapoulivaati Vaitai could be an option, and Robinson tweets that he continues to hear that Vaitai is the “most available” tackle on the market. He also notes that Vaitai had “several teams” interested in him during the preseason. Vaitai started 16 games between 2016 and 2017 and is entering the final year of his contract, so it makes sense why Philly would try and get something for him.
  • Conversely, teams might have a harder time prying Nate Solder away. We’ve heard the Browns are interested in the Giants’ left tackle, but Robinson notes in the same tweet that he’ll be a “tougher get” since the Giants are “reticent” to shakeup Daniel Jones‘ offensive line too much. The former Patriot hasn’t lived up to his massive contract, but it looks like New York will hang onto him through the end of the season.
  • Marcus Mariota has already been benched by the Titans, and it sounds like his 2015 draft-classmate Jameis Winston is going to be able to avoid a similar fate. Winston had another turnover-plagued game during the Buccaneers’ Week 8 loss, but Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times writes that the Bucs’ plan is to give Winston the rest of the season to make his case. Working in Winston’s favor is that unlike Mariota, he doesn’t have an experienced backup like Ryan Tannehill breathing down his neck. Winston’s current backup, Ryan Griffin, has never taken a regular season snap.
  • The Texans lost starting running back Lamar Miller to a torn ACL right before the start of the season, and ended up trading for running back Carlos Hyde. Although many thought Houston would be actively looking for running back help after Miller went down it was apparently the Chiefs who initiated the Hyde trade, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. The Chiefs inked Hyde to a one-year, $2.8MM deal back in March, but clearly regretted it and didn’t want him on the team any longer. They landed offensive tackle Martinas Rankin in return.

Dolphins Nearing Kenyan Drake Trade

The Dolphins are making progress on a trade involving RB Kenyan Drake, as Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network tweets. Drake will not travel with the team to Pittsburgh for Monday’s game against the Steelers, which is another sign that a trade is imminent. Indeed, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald says the Dolphins expect to trade Drake before Tuesday’s deadline (Twitter link).

We heard several days ago that the Lions and Titans, among other clubs, have expressed interest in Drake. Miami is said to be looking for at least a fourth-round pick in exchange for the Alabama product, but earlier reports indicated that the best offer the Fins had received to date was a conditional sixth-rounder. But the fact that trade talks are progressing suggests that at least one team is getting closer to meeting Miami’s asking price.

Miami’s bottom-tier offensive line has struggled this season, and Drake is averaging a career-low 3.7 yards per carry. However, the former third-round pick posted 4.8- and 4.5-yard YPC averages in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Drake, 25, has not rushed for 50 yards in a game this season, but he surpassed 1,000 yards from scrimmage in a part-time role last year and has just 333 career carries under his belt. He is in the last year of his rookie contract.

In addition to Drake, clubs in need of a running back could also turn to the Seahawks’ Rashaad Penny or the Chargers’ Melvin Gordon.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions, Titans Interested In Kenyan Drake

Days away from the trade deadline, interest in Kenyan Drake has picked up. The Lions and Titans are two known suitors for the Dolphins’ contract-year running back, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. “Several” teams have shown interest, however.

But Miami has not seen a strong offer yet, with Jackson adding the team wants at least a fourth-round pick for Drake. The best known proposal the Dolphins have received was a conditional sixth-round selection, per Jackson, with another team offering an undisclosed late 2021 choice.

The Dolphins received a fourth-rounder for Jay Ajayi before the 2017 deadline, but Drake’s value has undoubtedly plummeted because of the latest Dolphin edition’s status. Miami’s bottom-tier offensive line has struggled this season, and Drake is averaging a career-low 3.7 yards per carry. The former third-round pick posted 4.8- and 4.5-yard averages in 2017 and ’18, respectively. Drake, 25, has not rushed for 50 yards in a game this season, but he surpassed 1,000 yards from scrimmage in a part-time role last year and has just 333 carries under his belt.

Detroit jumps out as a potential destination. Having lost Kerryon Johnson to another injury, the Lions are down to sixth-round rookie Ty Johnson as their starter. Not out of contention, Detroit has Johnson, passing-down back J.D. McKissic and ex-Packers and Giants backups Tra Carson and Paul Perkins, respectively. This would make sense for Drake, and the Dolphins may be willing to gamble on a better offer coming early next week.

The Titans boast a stronger backfield, with Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis in the second year of their partnership. It’s less clear where Drake would fit in with Tennessee, which has Henry in a contract year as well. Both of those backs are healthy, set to play alongside ex-Dolphins starter Ryan Tannehill on Sunday.

Extension talks having stalled, and the Dolphins being in full-scale rebuilding mode, led to Drake becoming available. He is not especially interested in a long-term Dolphins pact, per Jackson. It still appears likely Miami will move him before Tuesday afternoon’s deadline. The Dolphins have used Mark Walton more often this season, and banking on a late-round compensatory pick may not be realistic for a team that is expected to be active on the 2020 free agent market.

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Dolphins Discussing Kenyan Drake Trade

Running back Kenyan Drake could be on the move. The Dolphins have had trade conversations about him with teams and they would be willing to deal him if the right offer presented itself, Ian Rapoport of tweets

Drake was in extension talks with Miami not long ago, but there has been no momentum on that front since training camp. Meanwhile, Drake would welcome a new opportunity, RapSheet hears (video link).

A deal would make plenty of sense for both parties. Drake is playing out the final year of his contract, doing so for a Dolphins team that underwent a radical philosophy change this year. Miami is 0-5 and has one of the worst point differentials through five games in NFL history.

The former third-round pick out of Alabama has not rushed for 50 yards in a game this season and is averaging a career-worst 3.7 yards per carry behind one of the NFL’s worst offensive lines. The Dolphins still gave him a team-high 16 touches in Week 6 but used Mark Walton as their starter.

Drake, 25, totaled 1,012 yards from scrimmage last season. Despite sharing backfield duties with Frank Gore, Drake scored nine touchdowns in 2018. This may be a better way to evaluate the running back as opposed to judging his work on this year’s rebuilding Dolphin outfit. The Dolphins, though, are not under the impression they would get much back in a Drake trade. They received a fourth-round pick from the Eagles for Jay Ajayi in 2017.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Interested In Extending Kenyan Drake

The Dolphins are interested in extending running back Kenyan Drake and have engaged his agent in negotiations, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. However, Miami may also consider trading Drake before the NFL’s October 29 trade deadline.

Within the Dolphins’ front office, a “sentiment” exists about not handing out large contracts at the running back position. That’s consistent with a league-wide devaluation of running backs, and Miami would likely only be interested in a new deal for Drake if it comes a team-friendly rate.

Per Jackson, at least one source is “under the belief” Drake could be made available over the next two weeks. However, Miami is also “under the impression” it won’t receive much in return if it does attempt to trade Drake. As Jackson notes, the Dolphins intend to be aggressive in the 2020 free agent market, meaning they likely wouldn’t recoup a compensatory draft pick in exchange for losing Drake next spring, so a trade may make sense.

A third-round pick in the 2016 draft, Drake has never been the focal point of the Dolphins’ rushing attack. 2019 marks the first season in which he’s lead the club in carries, having ceded touches to Jay Ajayi and Frank Gore in previous years. However, Drake has been an effective pass-catcher, totaling 85 catches and 716 yards between 2017-18. Last season, Football Outsiders ranked Drake as one of the NFL’s more efficient receiving backs, although he’s struggled in that regard this year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Discussing Kenyan Drake Trade?

The Dolphins may trade second-year DB Minkah Fitzpatrick before next week, and one report this morning suggested that a Fitzpatrick trade, if completed, would represent the end of Miami’s extensive teardown.

But not so fast. Per Jay Glazer of FOX Sports, the Dolphins have engaged rival clubs in trade talks concerning running back Kenyan Drake (Twitter link). If the team were to deal Drake, it would make a little more sense than the recent trade of Laremy Tunsil and the potential trade of Fitzpatrick. After all, Drake is eligible for free agency in 2020, and quality running backs are easier to find than high-quality left tackles.

But while Drake has not been heavily-utilized in his three-plus years in Miami, he has shown plenty of promise. He has averaged 4.7 yards-per-carry in his young career, and he has also been a contributor in the passing game. Although he would not likely yield a major return in a trade, it’s easy to see why other teams would be sniffing around the Dolphins’ carcass in the hopes of finding worthwhile talent.

However, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald hears from a team source that the Dolphins have had zero conversations about a Drake trade, and he’s also heard that Drake has not asked to be dealt (Twitter links). Though this is purely speculation, it could be that rival clubs have placed calls just to see if Drake is available, and the Dolphins have rebuffed those overtures.

After getting just four carries in the team’s Week 1 loss to Baltimore, Drake reportedly had a great week of practice and is primed for a larger workload going forward.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Kenyan Drake Likely Done For Preseason

Dolphins top running back Kenyan Drake is likely to miss the remainder of the team’s preseason slate, and his availability for Week 1 is in question as well, as Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald writes. Drake suffered a foot injury in Tuesday’s practice.

Of course, Miami is in the early stages of a complete rebuild, so losing Drake for any regular season action won’t exactly impact the club’s postseason chances. But Drake is eligible for free agency in 2020, so he doesn’t want his platform year to be marred by injury, and the Dolphins would like to see what the talented 25-year-old can do when given a full workload.

The Alabama product has averaged a terrific 4.7 yards per carry across 286 career totes in his three professional seasons, and he’s also been a significant contributor in the passing game. Advanced metrics are high on his ability, and he could earn a nice payday in 2020, either from the Dolphins or another RB-needy team.

Luckily, Drake’s injury does not seem to be overly serious. Head coach Brian Flores said, “[t]he opener is down the road. He’s got a little injury. He’s just going to take it day to day. He’s got a great attitude about it. I think he’ll be OK.”

In Drake’s absence, Kalen Ballage and Mark Walton will see more action. Miami also has several seventh-round rookies on the roster.

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Dolphins Notes: Mills, Drake, Ledbetter

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald passes along a veritable treasure trove of notes for Dolphins fans today, so let’s dive right in:

  • Although free agent acquisition Jordan Mills was disappointing in minicamp and was replaced at right tackle by Jesse Davis, Jackson says the Dolphins are still very much open to having Mills man the RT position. The club will give him a chance to redeem himself in training camp and may elect to keep Davis at guard, where he played last year. Zach Sterup is also in the mix for the right tackle job.
  • Jackson believes that running back Kenyan Drake has been woefully underutilized to date and that he should be getting 12 to 18 carries a game. Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics support Jackson’s opinion, citing Drake’s ability to win after early contact and force missed tackles. However, PFF also says Kalen Ballage should serve as Miami’s primary third-down/receiving back, which Jackson’s eye test does not support. Jackson says Ballage looked “unnatural” as a receiver out of the backfield during the club’s offseason program, and he even says the embattled Mark Walton could be the Dolphins’ best receiving back. Drake and Ballage will have plenty of opportunity to prove their worth in 2019, which is an especially crucial year for Drake, a 2020 free agent.
  • UDFAs often have a better chance of cracking the roster of a rebuilding team like the Dolphins then they would on a club with playoff aspirations, and Jackson says Miami hopes at least one of the its undrafted defensive linemen — Dewayne Hendrix and Jonathan Ledbetter — will make the cut. Ledbetter, one of the best collegiate DEs at stopping the run, is attempting to diversify his game by refining his pass rush skills.
  • The team also has several UDFA cornerbacks that merit some attention, and the new coaching staff had plenty of luck developing that type of prospect in New England. 2018 UDFA Jalen Davis flashed in minicamp this year, and while the Dolphins have taken a look at him both outside the numbers and in the slot, his size (5-10, 185) may make him better-suited to a slot role.