Alabama in the Pros

Josh Jacobs says he ‘fought’ for Kenyan Drake to join him with the Las Vegas Raiders

Josh Jacobs carries tha ball
Mark J. Rebilas - USA TODAY Sports

Jon Gruden has some marquee offensive pieces in his second stint with the Raiders.

As he enters year four of his 10-year, $100 million contract, it is time for the squad in Las Vegas to yield results.

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The Raiders opened mandatory minicamp today, and reporters were excited to see Josh Jacobs.

A third-year running back from the University of Alabama, he has turned in two straight 1,000-yard seasons. He finished in the top-10 of the National Football League for carries (273, No. 3), rushing yards (1,065, No. 8), and rushing touchdowns (12, tied for fourth) in 2020.

Jacobs had two 100-yard games and caught 33 passes for 238 yards receiving. Derrick Henry was not the only player lobbying for another former Alabama standout to join him this summer. Jacobs has been wanting to team up with Kenyan Drake for a while too. Both backs got their wish as Julio Jones is with the Tennessee Titans, and Drake signed a two-year deal with the Raiders.

Kenyan Drake celebrates a first quarter touchdown versus Seattle Seahawks in 2019

Dec 22, 2019; Seattle, Washington, USA; Arizona Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake (41) celebrates after rushing for a touchdown during the first quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Drake’s move to Las Vegas came on the heels of a career year for the Cardinals. He started 13 of 15 games last season and totaled 955 yards rushing with 10 scores on 239 carries. Drake signed a $14.5 million contract with the Raiders on March 19.

He played with Henry Ruggs III, Alex Leatherwood, and Lester Cotton at Alabama, but Jacobs said he ‘fought’ to have Drake join him with the Raiders. The franchise has always been about speed, but how will Gruden use Jacobs and Drake offensively?

Las Vegas could do what Lane Kiffin did at Alabama with Drake in 2014. Before suffering a leg injury versus Ole Miss, the native Georgian had six total scores — including two touchdown catches. He was an incredible route runner, especially when the team had him split outside with receivers. Drake possesses this skill set and he can also operate wheel routes out the backfield.

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Jacobs is a strong receiver too, but he gives the Raiders more power as a runner.

Talent is flooded on this roster. Gruden was brought back to see if he could guide the Raiders to a Super Bowl title.

The tandem of Jacobs and Drake is nasty together. Can the Raiders put both in situations to be successful?

We shall see this season.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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