The Houston Texans aren’t set at running back, but they could add Kenyan Drake to take the offense to the next level in 2020.
It is unknown to the public exactly what the Houston Texans want to do at running back, but one option that could be really exciting and fun to watch in 2020 is the addition of free agent Kenyan Drake, who is coming off a very interesting season in 2019.
After six games with the Miami Dolphins — including two starts — Drake was traded to the Arizona Cardinals, where he played in eight games and made all eight starts with the NFC West franchise. While with the Cardinals, he totaled 123 rushes for 643 yards and eight touchdowns. In the first six games of the season with a struggling Dolphins offense, Drake totaled 47 carries for 174 yards and no touchdowns.
While with Miami, Drake averaged 7.8 attempts per game where he had an average of 29 yards rushing per game. While with the Cardinals, Drake averaged 15.4 carries per game for 80.4 yards per carry.
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That is a huge difference, and to be honest, one of those reasons in better play and more carries is while in Arizona his quarterback was Kyler Murray, a player who can pass and run the football with the best of them, or at least he’s on the way.
Now imagine Drake with the soon-to-be fourth year starting quarterback of the Texans, Deshaun Watson. Drake is only 26 years old, and after four seasons in the league is only averaging 7.4 rushing attempts per game. He also has fewer than 500 carries under his belt, and Drake has the potential to take a sometimes stale offense like the Texans and really make them into something special.
Drake has never had over 170 rushes in a season, and those 170 rushes came in 2019 when he totaled 817 yards combined with the Dolphins and Cardinals.
NFL.com Analyst Michael Robinson recently wrote about Drake and how he is the No. 2 running back worth pursuing this offseason by NFL teams, writing the following about the running back:
"“He averaged 3.7 yards per carry in six games with the Dolphins before finding his stride in Kliff Kingsbury‘s offense down the stretch. In Weeks 9-17 with the Cardinals, Drake ranked in the top six in many major rushing categories, including yards (643) and touchdowns (eight).”"
Seeing how Drake played with the Cardinals this past season, we know what type of success he’s able to achieve when he gets more focus on the offense. Looking back at the Texans last season, Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson combined for 328 carries for 1,480 yards rushing and eight touchdowns in the regular season. In the two playoff games, the same duo totaled 141 yards on 33 carries with zero touchdowns.
To be quite honest, for those two to average 4.3 yards per carry isn’t terrible, but that number needed to be much more in terms of overall combined carries. Johnson in the playoffs did have eight receptions for 53 yards but still had no touchdowns. For the regular season, Johnson was third on the team in receptions with 44 for 410 yards and three scores, averaging 9.3 yards per catch.
Having Johnson on the roster is huge, but he needs to be used more. Say the Texans do add Drake …with his overall athletic ability and Watson’s athletic way of playing quarterback as he makes plays with his feet and has a great arm too, they could be dangerous. Imagine the misdirection plays those two could make together, and having Johnson back there with them and his ability to catch the football? Wow.
Also, don’t forget adding Drake with DeAndre Hopkins, Kenny Stills and Will Fuller, a healthy roster of those three, plus Johnson, Watson and Drake … that would be hard for any defense in the NFL to stop.
Adding Drake is something the Texans need to really consider. Will it cost them a decent amount of money in a contract? Most likely yes, but this team needs to take a chance every now and then, and Drake is worth taking a chance on.
If the Texans do so, they will be top contenders in the AFC, and this time they could slam the door on the likes of the Chiefs when they have a 24-point lead in the second quarter. A player with the ability of Drake would allow the Texans to do just that.