Josh Jacobs, Kenyan Drake gives Raiders 1-2 Alabama punch

If things go as planned, the Kenyan Drake will likely get some rushed tries and catch some passes that may have ended up in the hands of Josh Jacobs during the 2021 NFL season. But Jacobs said he is advocating the Las Vegas Raiders signing Drake as a freelance agency this off-season.

“I was fighting to get the guy to bring him here when I found out Book was leaving,” Jacobs said last week when the Raiders ended their offseason program. “I’ve known Kenya for ages. He’s been coming back and training with me since the Alabama days.

“His game speaks for itself. He is very versatile, plays the slot and is very good in open space. He can take off the top. It will be a great addition. “

Devontae Booker left Las Vegas free agent for the New York Giants in March after running 423 yards, three touchdowns at 93 carries and catching 17 passes for 84 yards. For a two-year deal worth $ 11 million, the Raiders replaced Booker as their number 2 running back with Drake, who ran 955 yards and 10 touchdowns at 239 carries and caught 25 passes for 137 yards for the Arizona Cardinals in the 2020 season.

Jacobs ran 1,065 yards and 12 touchdowns at 273 carries and caught 33 passes for 238 yards last season when he received Pro Bowl recognition.

A couple of Alabama alumni, Drake and Jacobs, weren’t teammates on Crimson Tide, but they did publish similar college statistics. From 2012 to 2015, Drake ran 1,495 yards and 18 touchdowns at 233 carries, caught 46 passes for 570 yards and four touchdowns, and returned 19 kickoffs for 505 yards and a TD. From 2016 to 2018, Jacobs ran 1,491 yards and 16 touchdowns at 251 carries, caught 48 passes for 571 yards and five touchdowns, and returned 18 kickoffs for 514 yards and a TD.

“Of course we both have great respect for each other’s game and for each other,” said Drake. “Of course we have this bama connection, so ‘Roll Tide’. And I just feel like when it all gets going and bullets are flying we are just going to rely on the things we have adjusted to and those are the best versions of ourselves and really feed on each other as soon as we can we are in. His running style is definitely contagious. The physical style that people miss in space. I reversed. So I think that we can definitely complement each other. “

Since Drake has caught at least 50 passes in two different NFL seasons and Jacobs has 53 receptions in his two NFL seasons, it’s easy to assume that the Raiders now have a first and second down back in Jacobs and a third down -Back have in Drake.

Las Vegas quarterback Derek Carr said Drake is not a change of pace; it is the means to get the best out of Jacobs.

“They’ll complement each other great,” said Carr. “Kenyan is not just a type of route that goes backwards. I mean, he’s had 900-something-yard seasons. Guy’s a good football player. If you’ve got two backs like that, you don’t have to kill Josh. It could be fresh any moment. Can you imagine that? I have to attack this guy fresh every time. “

However, Carr envisions Drake catching lots of passes for Las Vegas in 2021.

“I think Kenyan is a great player,” said Carr. “Super fast, super explosive. I don’t know if we missed it, but I think it adds a dimension to another threat. …

“Drake obviously played a lot of football. He has a recipient background. You know how coaches like to throw certain routes at the running backs and things like that. We sometimes design games to get the running back to break a tackle. I think KD will do this really well for us.

“And he’s a great guy. I really enjoyed being around him. “

Drake said he was ready for whatever role the Las Vegas coaches asked him to play.

“I’ve always been a pretty versatile athlete in general,” said Drake. “In high school I played running back and receiver. I came out as an athlete. I used to play a lot of receivers in certain personnel packages at Bama. I haven’t really been used as a receiver since I’ve been in the league, but there have been two years in a row that I’ve caught more than 50 balls, a total of 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons, so it’s all about being a playmaker When the game has to be done in space, whether I get the ball from the backcourt, catch the ball, run the ball. I just want to be indispensable. Just make games all over the field in every facet of the game. Special teams too.

“I just like to be a soccer player, so when I get the ball in my hands, I like to make moves or generally without the ball, I just want to work where the teams really have to worry: Where is 23? on the field? How can we neutralize him and stop him from being a game breaker? And then everyone else starts to eat, because if you focus on one person, we have guns everywhere and that just brings more success on the offensive in general. “

Jacobs increased his total number of receptions from 20 as a rookie to 33 in his sophomore season, but he doesn’t sweat over the possible loss of touches with Drake in 2021.

“Whenever I get my chances, use my chances and make the most of my chances,” said Jacobs. “I’m not one of them. I really don’t care. If he gets catches and he does well and we win, that’s all I care. However it plays out it is but it plays out. I just know whenever I get my chances, make the most of them. “

The Raiders play pre-season games against the Seattle Seahawks on August 14, Los Angeles Rams on August 21, and the San Francisco 49ers on August 29, before starting the regular season on September 13 against the Baltimore Ravens.

Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.

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