The franchise already had bell-cow rusher Josh Jacobs under contract, so it seemed like quite the investment to make, especially when running back is among the easiest position to fill in the NFL.
Drake has had a decent complementary role in his first season with Las Vegas, totaling 254 rushing yards and 291 receiving yards on 30 catches.
However, that will be the extent of his 2021 production.
Drake will miss the rest of the season with a broken ankle suffered against Washington on Sunday, and the Raiders will be forced to look elsewhere to spell Jacobs.
As alluded to above, finding depth options in the backfield is not the most challenging endeavor.
Las Vegas would do well to sign either of the following two free agent running backs on the market.
#Raiders RB Kenyan Drake suffered a broken ankle in today’s game, sources say, and he is out for the season. Drake, the team’s second-leading rusher, was ruled out quickly in the loss to the Washington Football Team.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 6, 2021
2. Le’Veon Bell
The Raiders could probably take a gander at a potentially more exciting name to bolster their backfield, such as Todd Gurley.
But at this juncture of the NFL season, entering Week 14, it would be difficult for them to bring in a player who has been out of the league for the entire campaign.
They could still go the brand recognition route by bringing in Le’Veon Bell, who was unceremoniously waived by the Baltimore Ravens earlier this season.
He ran for 83 yards in five games with the Ravens.
It doesn’t look like Bell has the type of juice left to rekindle the special statistical seasons he had with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the beginning of his career, but the Raiders don’t need him to be that type of player.
Should anything happen to Jacobs, they’ll have a veteran insurance policy who is comfortable running between the tackles, and serving as an outlet in the flat.
He has also had live NFL reps this season, something that many free agent alternatives cannot say.
this hurts, but it’s been a blessing to be here to say the least, i’ve enjoyed every second of this short period & gotta whole new meaning of what this city is like & it’s a great place to be 🖤💜 I appreciate Eric Decasta & John Harbaugh for the opportunity to be called an Raven pic.twitter.com/428poGYsNO
— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) November 16, 2021
1. Chris Thompson
Even though the head coach who was leading the Raiders when Drake was signed is no longer in the picture, the strategy of the move was pretty clear even at the time.
Las Vegas wanted to use Drake as a jack of all trades to make their offense more versatile.
Lining him up in the backfield, in motion, and as a receiver would keep defenses guessing.
If the team really wants to double down on replacing Drake’s skills as a receiver, they would be wise to take a gander at Chris Thompson.
The 31-year-old was a pass-catching weapon for the Washington Football Team for seven seasons.
From 2015-2019, he averaged 55 targets per season, as a trusted alternative in the flat in the nation’s capital.
Thompson hasn’t appeared in an NFL game yet this season, but would provide a complementary role that’s quite different than what Las Vegas already has in Jacobs.
Thompson played in eight games for the Jacksonville Jaguars last season, and caught 20 passes for 146 yards in that span.