MOBILE, Ala. -- For the longest time, Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage thought Kenyan Drake was nothing more than a "190-pound scatback."
But after meeting the Alabama running back in person, Savage realized Drake was much bigger and had more to offer than just his speed.
During the Senior Bowl weigh in, Drake stood 6-foot and weighed 210 pounds.
"The way the league is working with these running backs now, I think he can fit to whatever you don't have," said Savage, the radio color analyst for Alabama football. "In other words, if you're looking for a third-down back, I think he can be that kind of player. If you're looking for an early down ball carrier, he may be able to do that too. So I think his versatility just really increasing his chances to have an NFL career because he can run, he can block, he can catch, he can return kicks, he can recover kicks. I think he'll have real value to teams."
During his four years at Alabama, Drake rushed for 1,495 yards and 18 touchdowns. Drake also had 570 receiving yards and four reception touchdowns.
But the biggest play of his career came on special teams as Drake took a kickoff back 95 yards for a score in the Tide's national championship win over Clemson.
"I think he has a great future because he's sort of a speciality back," Tide coach Nick Saban said. "He's a great receiver, he'll be a great third-down back. He can play receiver or play running back. He's a very good special teams player. Everybody's looking for guys like Kenyan Drake."
Drake is one of five Alabama players participating in the Senior Bowl, but he's probably the most intriguing.
On one hand, the Powder Springs, Ga., native is an explosive athlete with exceptional burst who can play running back, wide receiver and return kicks. He's the definition of being one play away from breaking a big one.
Conversely, injuries during his junior and senior seasons limited his time and production on the field.
Drake said his injuries haven't been a concern for the NFL teams he has met with so far.
"I think I've proved I can come back from injuries and still play at a high level," Drake said.
While players rotated in and out, Drake appeared to be the first running back up during team drills. He also took reps as a kick and punt returner.
Drake's talents flashed as he broke multiple long plays throughout the workouts, particularly as a receiver out of the backfield. On Wednesday, he blew by a defender and made a downfield catch.
Dane Brugler, senior NFL draft analyst for NFLDraftScout and CBSSports.com, watched Drake closely. CBSSports.com lists Drake as the seventh-best running back and has him projected to go in the third round of the draft.
"He did really well carrying the ball out of the backfield. He's fast and he's quick," Brugler said. "It takes one step and he's at full speed. That really showed in person seeing him on the practice field. It's going to be tough for linebackers to cut him off. It's easy to misjudge angles when you're going up against a guy with the speed, the quickest and the acceleration of Kenyan Drake."
Brugler offered Detroit Lions running back Theo Riddick as a NFL player comparison for Drake, because they both "almost look like a receiver in the backfield" who can be a "gadget player who can help you out on offense."
Riddick, who starred at Notre Dame, caught 80 passes for 697 yards and three touchdowns this past season in his third year in the league.
Brugler also added a few areas he believes Drake should work on.
"He needs to do a better job with his patience," Brugler said. "Sometimes he moves a little too fast. He can be a little too reactive as a runner, and needs to do a better job of setting up some of those moves. I think he needs a little bit of refinement as a blocker and a receiver."
During the South team's practice on Tuesday, Drake and Alabama teammate Reggie Ragland were matched up against each other as the running back tried to stop the linebacker from getting to the imaginary quarterback.
Ragland won easily, knocking Drake's arms down and tossing him to the side. Drake laughed about the moment later, adding that he got better each time after that.
Ragland, who was a part of the Tide's 2012 recruiting class with Drake, offered a scouting report for his teammate.
Ragland credited Drake with some of his improvement throughout his career.
"Quick-twitch, smart guy and he knows when to cut up the field. He's really fast," Ragland said. "Going against him, he's made me a better player. Tackling wise, I go inside out and look at his hips. Kenyan's made me a much better tackler. The first couple of years, he made me look silly out there, but after a while, it helped me break down and be more patient as a tackler."
Pass protection is one area Drake knows he needs to improve in. He took a step forward from practice one to Wednesday's workout, which was one of his goals.
"I just want to prove that I can be an all-around back down-in and down-out," Drake said. "Pass pro, third-down situations and having the ability to regurgitate a system we've had to learn in a week."
Drake said he is being represented by Pat Dye Jr. He'll be training at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. leading up the NFL combine.
For now, he's making the most of this week, which is the equivalent of an informal job interview for players.
"Just having this experience in general, I think is priceless," Drake said. "Being out here with all the NFL coaches, talking with GMs and being around high-caliber players is going to make me better in general. I'm just trying to enjoy this experience, get better each day and try to go out there and perform well on Saturday."
-- Contact Anniston Star Sports Writer Marq Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter:@Marq_Burnett.