The Las Vegas Raiders‘ running back room will be one of the most interesting position groups to watch in training camp. Former first-round pick and Pro Bowler Josh Jacobs figured to be the lead guy this season but the team declined his fifth-year option and drafted Zamir White in the fourth round. Despite head coach Josh McDaniels having high praise for Jacobs upon taking the job, he’s clearly keeping his options open.
Jacobs is likely safe for this season but the same can’t be said for Kenyan Drake. The Raiders spent a decent chunk of money on the veteran running back last offseason but he didn’t have much of an impact on the field and broke his ankle in Week 13. He’s been a good soldier for the Raiders but the running back room is getting crowded.
Ian Wharton of Bleacher Report believes the team should send Drake to the New Orleans Saints for a fifth-round draft pick:
Ziegler already restructured Drake’s contract to make 2023 a void year, so the full value of the deal won’t be realized. Trading Drake would save $2.75 million against a $1.1 million dead-cap hit, which is a much better option than cutting the veteran.
New Orleans stands out as an excellent landing spot. With Alvin Kamara’s future uncertain after he was arrested and charged with battery resulting in substantial bodily harm in February, the Saints could use a versatile pass-catching back with explosiveness. They’ve worked out David Johnson recently, but Drake is a much better option in comparison.
ALL the latest Raiders news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on Raiders newsletter here!
Should Raiders Trade Drake?
Drake has never been an elite rusher. His career-high for rushing yards is 955 and only had 254 in 12 games for the Raiders last season. He does most of his damage in the passing game as he’s had 25+ receptions in five of his 6 seasons.
McDaniels is coming from the New England Patriots where they heavily used running backs in the passing game. However, the team brought in Brandon Bolden from the Patriots and he’s much more familiar with McDaniels’ offense. Plus, he had 41 receptions last year so he’s still an impact player in the passing game. The Raiders may still see value in Drake but if there’s a trade offer on the table, it might be wise to consider it if the team thinks they could cut the running back outright after training camp.
Raiders RB Room Could Be Elite
It’s easy to forget that Jacobs is one of the best running backs in the NFL when healthy due to the fact that he’s so rarely healthy. He’s a violent runner and one of the most difficult to tackle. The Raiders saw glimpses of what makes him great towards the end of last season as he stepped up his game in a big way during the playoff push.
If he stays healthy and White is as good as many believe he can be, the Raiders will have an excellent running back duo. Throw in Bolden or Drake’s ability in the passing game and the team has a dynamic backfield. The receiving corps will get a lot of attention heading into the season but McDaniels loves to run the ball and has a great group of running backs to field a top-10 rushing attack.
READ NEXT: Davante Adams Has Fiery Response to Controversial Deebo Samuel Clip
that would be a great trade for my Saints.