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Cowboys 2016 Draft Prospect Profile: Alabama Running Back Kenyan Drake

The Cowboys are hosting their 30 national visits this week, lets take a deep dive into one of the prospects.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

This series will examine all draft prospects that have official invites to Valley Ranch. Previous research has shown these players are the most likely to be drafted by the Cowboys. For more explanation, read the opening paragraphs here.

Name: Kenyan Drake
Position: Running Back
School: Alabama
Height: 6’ 5/8"
Weight: 210 LBs


Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll

High School

Georgia 2011 Gatorade Player of the Year

Georgia 5A Track State Champion - 100m

Athletic Profile

pSparq Score: 116.6 Z-Score: -0.4 NFL Percentile: 35.3

pSparq is an approximation of the "Sparq Score" metric invented by NIKE (with the help of former USC and current Seattle Seahawks Head Coach, Pete Carroll), designed as a way to standardize athletic testing of High School athletes and interpret their athleticism with a sport specific formula. By standardizing a single metric composed of multiple athletic test results, it becomes possible to compare players to the athletic testing scores of players in past draft classes, and to provide context as to how a player will compare athletically to his peers at the NFL level. The Z-Score represents the number of standard deviations (sigma) above or below the mean at a particular position that player falls, 84% of players will have a Z-score of less than 1, 98% will have a Z-score of less than 2, and 99.87% will fall below a Z-Score of 3. There are currently a total of four players who are "3 Sigma Athletes" in the NFL, JJ Watt, Byron Jones, Evan Mathis, and Lane Johnson. For more on pSparq,(and the man behind the math Zach Whitman) check out

Measurables vs others at his position:

Note: This spider graph provides a visual representation of a players’ measurable traits, and combine results.  The filled in area of the chart, as well as the number in the light grey circle represents the percentile among the player’s peers by position.  A score of 85 here represents that out of every 100 players at his position, the player has a better result in that test than 85 of those 100.

Games Studied: Florida, Wisconsin, Florida (2014), Ole Miss (2013)

Run Game:

Drake was used as a secondary back as a member of the Crimson Tide, and ran a variety of plays designed to take advantage of his open field speed and big play ability. When he gets into space, he has the breakaway speed to finish for six from distance. However he goes down on first contact on virtually every run, and rarely falls forward to get an extra yard or two. Doesn’t show great understanding of how to press a hole to open up a lane before cutting upfield through that lane before it closes. Does run hard, but just isn’t a powerful guy to allow that to transition to earning extra yards. Wasn’t used in short yardage because of this role, but because of his propensity to go down on first contact, I wonder about his viability there. He looks physically like a wide receiver playing running back, both in his build and in the style of running. Has significant ball security issues, fumbled three times in the four games I studied.

Passing Game:

Drake was used often as a weapon in Alabama’s passing game, whether lined up in the back field, or out wide as a receiver. He is a smooth route runner, but is inconsistent catching the ball. He does fine catching the ball if it is high, or even tracking it over his head down the field on the sidelines, but struggled with his technique and concentration with the ball thrown low. When he catches the ball in space he is dynamic after the catch due to his pure speed which gives him a chance at a huge play, but his lack of balance through contact shows up in this area as well.

Conclusion/Cowboys Projection:

This is an interesting projection for me because I don’t see Drake as a player who can develop into a true every down running back due to concerns with ball security (one fumble every 39.9 touches), injury history, and his skill set. His best role at the NFL level will be one that is similar to what he did at Alabama as a complimentary back who catches a few passes a game, along with returning kicks and taking a jet sweep or two try to use his speed. I don’t see him as higher than about a fifth round value as that, and frankly he’s someone I hope another team picks before I would.

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