The Green Bay Packers brass may not come out and say it — but after the upset win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night Football, this team is preparing for a late playoff push.
The Pack have won four of its last five games.
Most importantly, it’s become abundantly clear that first-year starting QB Jordan Love has taken a major leap, especially over the last three games.
Love hasn’t just played well in his last three outings, he’s made NFL history. He’s the first NFL quarterback to lead his team to a (3-0) record 65.0+ comp pct on 100+ attempts, eight touchdown passes with 0 turnovers, 115.0+ passer rating, 40+ rushing yards no more than 5 sacks taken.
No other quarterback in NFL history has accomplished that feat, and while Green Bay Packers fans are cautiously optimistic, Brian Gunkust and the front office are making key moves with a legitimate shot at making a late playoff push.
But the front office understands the youth surrounding Jordan Love and continue to make crucial moves that could payoff when games begin to mean more as the Pack makes a run at the postseason.
On Tuesday, the Packers signed veteran running back Kenyan Drake. While the move was partially made due to the unknown surrounding Aaron Jones’ return, Drake is a capable, dynamic weapon who has proven himself in the NFL and could easily become a key part of a late season push for Green Bay.
Here are 3 things every Green Bay Packers Fan needs to know about Kenyan Drake:
1. Kenyan Drake Has Had Plenty Of NFL Success
While the Packers signed Drake to the practice squad initially, it won’t be a surprise to see him learn the offense quickly and get promoted to the 53-man roster, serving as a change-of-pace back to AJ Dillon as Jones continues to recover.
Drake is the perfect compliment to the hard-nose running style that Dillon brings to the table. Since getting drafted in the third round out of Alabama in 2017, 29-year-old running back has appeared in 103 games across the course of his eight-year professional career, starting 44 of those contests.
He has amassed 3,866 rushing yards and 33 rushing touchdowns on 868 carries, per Pro Football Reference. Drake has also caught 218 passes for 1,655 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns
Drake is a true threat out of the backfield as a pass-catcher and when he’s at his best, he’s a shifty, versatile back who can make defenders miss and pick up huge gains with his elite speed.
2. Kenyan Drake Can’t Still Thrive In The NFL
There are obvious questions as to why a running back with that kind of resume is available.
While Drake has bounced around various practice squads in 2023, he’s just a year removed from producing at a high level for the Baltimore Ravens in 2022, as a situational back. He closed out the 2022 season playing in 12 games, while starting in 5, finishing with 109 carries for 482 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
The dual-threat back added 17 receptions for 89 yards and another touchdown as a pass-catcher for Baltimore just one season ago.
These highlights were from just last season, and Drake hasn’t had any injury issues or setbacks since then.
— Alabama Rydeouts (@MarvinBama16) October 16, 2022
KENYAN DRAKE IS SHOWING NO MERCY TODAY 😤 pic.twitter.com/tXiIyU4k0Z
— PFF BAL Ravens (@PFF_Ravens) October 16, 2022
While Kenyan Drake has never surpassed 1,000 yards rushing in his NFL career, he put together his best statistical season in 2020 with the Arizona Cardinals, where he closed out the year with 955 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns.
That production earned him a two-year deal worth more than $11 million deal with the Las Vegas Raiders as a change of pace back for their workhorse, Josh Jacobs. He thrived early, but was placed on injured reserve after breaking his ankle in Week 13.
Still, while Drake has never had an opportunity to be the featured back for a franchise, he bounced back from the injury and showed he could still produce at a high level in Baltimore last season.
3. Kenyan Drake Thrilled To Sign With Green Bay Packers
The NFL is often a league of opportunity, and it didn’t take long for the new Green Bay RB to express his joy for getting a chance with the Pack.
Before the signing was officially announced, Drake took to social media dropping hints that he was going to ink a deal with the Packers.
Once it was made official, the veteran ball-carrier shared his excitement for his new opportunity with NFL Insider Josina Anderson of CBS Sports.
“I could feel the energy around the building today,” Drake told Anderson. “It was legendary, and you can feel the legacy and bright future they have. I’m excited to get to work to help them take that next step towards the ultimate goal.”
As it stands, there isn’t a clear timetable for Jones to return to the Packers’ backfield
During an appearance on “The Coach JB Show with Big Smitty,” professional athlete consultant Dr. Jesse Morse provided a bleak outlook on Jones’ chances of getting back on the field this week against the New York Giants. Morse fears if the Green Bay Packers rush Jones back too soon from the MCL Sprain he’s battling, they are at risk for losing him for the entire season.
— The Coach JB Show with Big Smitty (@TheCoachJBShow) December 5, 2023
With the release of James Robinson accompanying the signing of Drake, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the veteran running back elevated to the 53-man roster and contributing sooner than later.
The Packers aren’t overlooking any opponent, but they have a favorable schedule ahead and are clearly adding depth that can contribute if called upon. Drake could end up being one of the smartest moves the Green Bay brass has made as they re-write the narrative and make a late December push for a chance to compete in the playoffs.