Kenyan Drake: Should Vikings take a shot with Alabama RB?
By Dan Zinski
Alabama RB Kenyan Drake has first-round talent according to some evaluators and could be a steal for the Minnesota Vikings in the middle rounds.
Derrick Henry is getting all the buzz but there’s another Alabama Crimson Tide running back out there who has caught the eye of some talent evaluators.
In this morning’s MMQB, Peter King relates what he was told about Kenyan Drake, Henry’s backup at Alabama:
"I asked a few guys which first-round pick will shock the world on April 28. And one evaluator said he wasn’t positive this player would go in the first round, but said he definitely has first-round talent: Alabama back Kenyan Drake, who backed up Heisman winner Derrick Henry. Great straight-line speed."
Drake (6-1, 210 pounds) is currently graded as a third- or fourth-round pick by most experts. Besides his great speed, Drake possesses good balance, and is a fast accelerator with quick feet. However, Drake does not show the kind of power you would like from a guy with his size and some think he has too much of a tendency to bounce things outside. Fumbles have also been a problem.
There have been injury issues with Drake and some question his ability to hold up physically in the NFL. Drake does possess good receiving skills and is a strong return man. It should be noted that he was not a great pass-protector in college, so that is something he would have to work on.
Next: Vikings seven-round mock draft
The Vikings of course already have a lot of running back talent on the squad with that guy Adrian Peterson as their primary ball carrier and third-year man Jerick McKinnon backing him up. That’s a nice one-two punch on paper but is it enough? I think a strong argument can be made that the Vikings should add a third man to the mix, someone better than the plodding Matt Asiata.
There aren’t a lot of running backs in that third- or fourth-round area who possess Kenyan Drake’s big play ability. Yes, you would have to look past a lot of issues with him, but as a backup running back he could be a valuable piece. Nothing against Matt Asiata but the Vikings can do better. Drake has some legitimate upside, and would at least be worth a look if he’s there in the middle rounds.