Jon Gruden: We’re going to try to circulate touches Kenyan Drake’s way

The Raiders have a good, young running back in Josh Jacobs who’s started his career with back-to-back seasons of 1,000 yards rushing. In 2020, He took 273 carries, caught 33 passes, and accounted for 12 touchdowns.

Head coach Jon Gruden recently said during an interview on the franchise’s “The Raiders Report” TV show that he believes Jacobs is not just a Pro Bowl player, but an “MVP-caliber back.”

“We’d like to see him get more and more real estate,” Gruden said.

But the team also signed Kenyan Drake to a two-year deal worth $11 million with $8.5 million guaranteed this offseason. Las Vegas has touted Drake’s potential versatility within the offense as a reason to sign him, as he’s twice caught at least 50 passes in a season. But Gruden explained bringing in Drake is also about insurance.

“Doug Martin had 190 touches three years ago when [Marshawn] Lynch went down,” Gruden said. “DeAndre Washington had 144 touches when Jacobs went down two years ago. And this past year, Josh went down and DeVonte Booker got 110 touches. So we’re going to try to circulate the touches Kenyan Drake’s way. He’s a guy that’s made big plays.”

Drake had a career-high 955 yards rushing with 10 touchdowns last season for the Cardinals, also making 25 receptions for 137 yards. But he did that with 264 touches.

Unless Jacobs is out for a significant period of time, Drake shouldn’t come anywhere close to that number in 2021. But if Gruden can find creative ways to still get the ball in Drake’s hands, that lucrative deal could pay off for both sides.