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Kenyan Drake set to be released by the Las Vegas Raiders

Vincent Frank

It wasn’t too long ago that former Alabama star Kenyan Drake was seen as one of the better young running backs in the NFL.

Splitting time between the Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals in 2019 and 2020, Drake tallied 2,254 total yards and 18 touchdowns while avraging 4.7 yards per touch.

Surprisingly, Drake is now set to be without a team. NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero is reporting that the Las Vegas Raiders will release the veteran running back.

Drake, 28, had fallen out of favor with the Raiders this summer as new head coach Josh McDaniels looks at other options to be the primary backup to Josh Jacobs. Rookie Zamir White got first-team reps over Drake during the Raiders’ preseason game against his former Dolphins team over the weekend.

Related: Las Vegas Raiders schedule and game-by-game predictions

Las Vegas Raiders running back situation following release of Kenyan Drake

zamir white replaces kenyan drake as raiders' rb2
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As noted above, Jacobs figures to be RB1 for Vegas. White will now likely take over primary backup duties with former New England Patriots player Brandon Bolden handling the third-down role. Veteran Ameer Abdullah is also now a near lock to make the 53-man roster.

Coming from New England, McDaniels values a certain type of running back. It’s now yet known whether Jacobs fits into that equation. McDaniels and first-year general manager Dave Ziegler decided against picking up the fifth-year option on his rookie deal, meaning that the former first-round pick is entering a contract year.

The goal here is for Vegas to find some balance on offense behind recently-extended quarterback Derek Carr. Obviously, the team believes that it can do this without Drake in the mix.

Related: Las Vegas Raiders standing in Sportsnaut’s updated NFL power rankings

Where Kenyan Drake goes from here

las vegas raiders release kenyan drake
Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports

The former third-round pick of Miami back in 2016 should draw interest with the NFL preseason wrapping up and teams preparing for Week 1.

As noted above, Drake has performed at a relatively high level in his career. However, he did have a down 2021 campaign while dealing with injuries.

  • Kenyan Drake stats (2021): 254 rushing yards, 30 receptions, 291 yards, 5.9 yards per touch, 3 touchdowns

Drake’s ability to catch the ball should lead to teams showing interest in him on the NFL free agent market. After all, he is averaging 38 receptions over the past five seasons.