MOBILE, Ala. – Every college football fan in the country knows the name Derrick Henry, the Alabama running back that wowed in 2015 and won the Heisman Trophy. Unless you’re a staunch SEC fan, or spend Saturday’s in Tuscaloosa, Ala., the Crimson Tide’s other running back isn’t a tip-of-the-tongue option.
Kenyan Drake arrived at Alabama with every bit of the fanfare a top-notch prospect deserves, but he’s leaving the college ranks with more “what-if” than “remember-when” moments. But that’s not indicative of Drake’s skill level or NFL upside, a stacked depth chart and injury issues thwarted his college career at many levels.
When Drake arrives in the NFL he’s going to bring a great frame and incredible speed to the next level. He’s projected as a third-round pick at the moment, but Drake has the intangibles and athleticism to bolt up draft boards – especially is he shines in Mobile at the Senior Bowl.
Alabama teammate, linebacker Reggie Ragland, spoke Monday about how difficult it was to face Drake on a daily basis in practice.
“He’s got a quick twitch, smart guy and he knows when to cut up,” said Ragland at the Reese’s Senior Bowl opening press conference on Monday. “He can be fast and physical out on the field. Going up against a player like that, he’s made me a better player.
“Tackling wise, I need to go inside-out and look at his hips because as a linebacker I do something like basketball, he can’t go anywhere with his hips. The first couple of years he made me look funny out there, but after a while it made me breakdown and be more patient as a tackler.”
Drake ran for 1,495 yards and caught 46 career passes for 570 additional yards in his four seasons with the Crimson Tide. A week of make more defenders “look funny” at the Senior Bowl will go a long way toward showing NFL teams he’s can take the next step in his development as a pro.
More from the 2016 Senior Bowl: