Last season, the Las Vegas Raiders didn’t have OTAs so it was difficult for new players to build chemistry. This offseason, the team has had excellent participation during OTAs and that could end up making a major difference. Derek Carr is the kind of quarterback that needs to build trust with his skill position teammates before he starts targeting them a lot. That was obvious by the fact rookie Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards both disappointed last season.
The most intriguing skill player the Raiders signed in free agency was Kenyan Drake. He’s one of the better running backs in the NFL but also is skilled as a receiver. He’s getting his first chance to play with Carr at OTAs and offered some of his early impressions.
“Derek Carr is very cerebral,” Drake said after practice Wednesday. “Obviously, he’s been in this offense for a while, this league for a while. Arm strength is uncanny. Real, real just keen leadership skills and really commands the attention and respect of everybody in the huddle once we get in there.”
The running back also talked about Carr’s personality.
“He is a real chill, laid-back guy,” Drake said. “He’s just a real open person and player. So, it’s really cool to, from afar, see how he is and how he manages the team … but up close and personal definitely respect the guy and want to continue to see how far we can take this ride this year.”
Carr is clearly getting respect from his teammates early on, which should bode well for the season.
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Drake Believes Raiders Have Loaded Offense
Last season, the Raiders fielded one of the best offenses in the NFL. They finished 10th in the league in points per game. Even though the offensive line has been overhauled this offseason, the unit could put up better numbers in 2021 with the further growth of young playmakers and additions of John Brown and Drake.
“Just adding another playmaker that the defense will have to worry about,” Drake said Wednesday. “When you have a multitude of guys to cover on the field, it stretches the defense real thin, so you got a guy like Darren Waller, Henry Ruggs III, Hunter Renfrow, [Bryan Edwards and Josh Jacobs], it’s almost like a pick-your-poison type of situation.”
Drake Talks Playing Receiver for Raiders
Coming into the NFL, Josh Jacobs was supposed to make an impact in the passing game in addition to his ability as a rusher. That hasn’t really been the case so far and that played a role in why the Raiders signed Drake. Jacobs is still one of the best runners in football so he’ll have plenty to do on offense. Plus, it sounds like Las Vegas has a plan to use Drake as a wide receiver in certain packages.
“Being utilized in space you got to have good footwork in tight areas off the line,” Drake said of what he’s working on this offseason. “Working on … receiver-related footwork drills, and that’s what I’m going to continue to do. The speed is going to take care of itself.”
Drake could be one of the Raiders’ best and most versatile weapons this season.