Kenyan Drake out to prove he's 'a contributor' in Dolphins' backfield

Dolphins third-round pick Kenyan Drake has impressed during OTAs. Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports

DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins third-round pick Kenyan Drake is aware of the labels he must shake as he enters the NFL.

Some pundits believe Drake is injury-prone after suffering a broken arm and broken leg at the University of Alabama. Some say he's an NFL backup after he played second fiddle in college to Derrick Henry, who won a Heisman Trophy and was drafted by the Tennessee Titans. Drake even is aware of his rating in the upcoming Madden 17 video game, which he says "is not good."

Still, Drake comes to Miami fully confident in his ability.

"People can say what they want to say, honestly," Drake said. "But I know my game and [I'm] coming in and just trying to help this team win games, point blank, period. Being a receiving back or being an every-down back, which I know I have the capabilities of being, I just want to go ahead and prove that I can be a contributor to this team."

Drake comes to Miami with a multitude of skills. He has the most straight-line speed of any running back on Miami's roster and catches the ball effortlessly out of the backfield.

It will be up to Dolphins rookie head coach Adam Gase and offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen to get the most out of Drake's talents. So far in organized team activities, Drake has displayed his running and catching ability in addition to working on returning kicks.

Christensen described Drake's performance in OTAs this spring as "excellent."

"He has won a bunch of football games," Christensen said. "He understands how fine a line it is to win football games. What they did personnel-wise in this draft class is finding guys who understood that and could do that, could concentrate long enough to do the little things. [I have] really been impressed with this rookie class, as far as being pros."

Drake will have a useful role in Miami, barring injury. But it's up to him to determine how big that role will be. He will be one of the top rookies to watch this summer in training camp.

Second-year running back Jay Ajayi is the Dolphins' projected starter and is expected to get the bulk of the carries. Drake must battle with fellow backups Daniel Thomas, Damien Williams and Isaiah Pead for opportunities.

"The depth chart is not any of my concern, especially right now in OTAs, when we don't even have pads on," Drake said. "Everybody is really just going through the same steps. I just look at it as a chance to get better every day."