After the Dolphins traded away disgruntled running back Jay Ajayi to the Philadelphia Eagles last offseason, many wondered how in the hell the Dolphins planned to run the ball. Without a traditional workhorse back or proven veteran backup on the roster, the reins would be handed over to Kenyan Drake, an intriguing yet unproven player the Dolphins drafted out of Alabama two seasons ago. The move seemed a gamble to most, but it was one the Dolphins felt comfortable with.
The move paid off and then some. Drake proved as good if not better than Jay Ajayi down the stretch of last season. Drake took over as the Dolphins main ball carrier with five games left in 2017 and all he did was lead the NFL in rushing yards in that time (444 on 91 carries). Drake quickly emerged as not only a capable running back but one of the most talented players on the 2017 team.
Heading into 2018, Drake is the single best player on the Dolphins team. He's also the most important player the Dolphins have outside of Ryan Tannehill. As Drake goes, the Dolphins go. What a difference a year makes.
The Dolphins have some playmakers on offense this season, but none like Drake. The running back is capable of hitting singles and bashing home runs. Where Jakeem Grant is a threat on every play from the wide receiver position, Drake is just as capable of busting a huge gain — but he's also able to run it up the middle if that's what the defense gives him.
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With Jarvis Landry gone, the Phins will need more from Drake in the passing game this season. Drake caught 32 passes last year in limited playing time, but this season it's not out of the question to think he could catch 60 balls, which would be more than Devante Parker has caught in a season in his entire career.
Drake will be expected to fill the gap in the short passing game left by Landry's
The Dolphins will only go as far as Ryan Tannehill takes them, but even if Tannehill has a season comparable to what he put together in 2016 before his injury, Kenyan Drake will need to be as good as he was last year for the Dolphins to make a playoff run.
From the glimpse Dolphins fans got last season, it seems likely Drake will be a household name when fantasy football drafts come around next month. When the NFL season gets underway, he could just be a star.