Like many around the world of the NFL, there were raised eyebrows when the Cardinals acquired wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins from the Houston Texans in March.
Count running back Kenyan Drake in that group. At the time the trade was going down, Drake was contemplating his situation after having the transition tag placed on him following the late-October trade that brought him to Arizona from the Miami Dolphins.
Knowing they had Drake for at least the 2020 season, the Cardinals sent running back David Johnson and his pricey contract to the Texans in the Hopkins deal.
In a videoconference with local reporters Tuesday, the first time he had been available since those mid-March moves, Drake said, “I was really excited about the trade. I didn’t really see it coming. I look forward to seeing what I saw a couple times from across the sideline when I saw him up close.”
What truly energizes Drake is what the addition means for the offense.
“When you trade for one of the top receivers in the league, if not the top receiver in the league, it’s going to bolster any offense,” he said. “With the style of play we have, it’s only going to help this team and be a nuisance for everybody in the NFC West for years to come. And it’s not only because of his ability, but Kyler’s (Murray) ability to play the way he plays at quarterback and will continue to get better year in and year out, game in and game out.”
It’s not only the addition of Hopkins that has Drake excited.
He said, “Having a quarterback like Kyler, and then you add a weapon like DHop, other weapons to shore up the O-Line, guys on defense that we picked up in free agency, Isaiah Simmons that we picked up in the draft ... the list goes on and on. I'm really excited just from the fact that it's another year to strap it up and go out and prove your work. And really just play the game, which I've loved since I was 6-years-old.
“I appreciate the opportunity to continue to play this game I love and play this game with obviously high-caliber athletes all around me; to go out there and make this game even more fun. So, yeah, I'm looking forward to it.”