Kenyan Drake in Upper-Middle Tier for RB Elusiveness

Mason Kern

The general consensus cites last season as running back Kenyan Drake's best as a professional, even after a mid-season trade from the Miami Dolphins to the Arizona Cardinals. 

In the eight games he played in Arizona last season, he rushed for 643 yards (5.2 per attempt) and eight touchdowns. Of those eight scores, seven came in the final three games of the year. In Week 15, he scored a career-high four touchdowns against the Cleveland Browns.

This offseason, the franchise extended Drake a transition tag, which he signed. That one-year tender is worth $8.483 million.

On Friday, Pro Football Focus released rankings for running back elusiveness among all 32 NFL franchises. Of that group, 27 have a returning starter, while five project to have rookies taking the bulk of the carries, separating them from these rankings.

Out of the 27 projected non-rookie starters, Drake was listed No. 12 overall. The rankings are developed based on "how often each running back forced missed tackles on both rushing attempts and receptions, while also diving into other metrics, such as how effective they were after contact and how well they performed after the catch."

"Drake was finally freed last season following his trade to the Cardinals, and the result was the most productive stretch of his career," PFF's Ben Linsey wrote. "From Week 9 through the end of the regular season, Drake’s 76.8 overall grade ranked fourth among 54 running backs with 150 or more offensive snaps. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to those who have followed his career. Even in Miami, Drake put up solid efficiency numbers, averaging 3.5 yards after contact per carry and forcing 58 missed tackles on just 253 rushes. It was a lack of volume holding him back, and Drake should get those touches in 2020."

In the offseason, the Cardinals were also able to shed the enormous contract of running back David Johnson in the trade with the Houston Texans for wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Johnson is ranked No. 27 on this list, dead last among projected non-rookie starters.

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