Written By Mike Anthony of VegasTopDogs.com
When Darren McFadden was drafted in 2008 with the 4th overall pick, a lot of things changed for Raiders fans all over the “Raider-Nation.” They started to believe in something. Something was going to be changing their team for the better.
They snagged a big time college RB, who had a splendid career playing for Arkansas, scoring 41 TDs, and rushing the ball for 4590 YDs, with an outrageous 5.8/carry average. And even more amazing was his all around game. 6-2 and 220 lbs, with blazing speed; he was the next big thing coming out at the time, without question. They undoubtedly needed something to be stoked about after the JaMarcus Russell debacle from 2007-2009, that most Raiders fans would like to erase from memory.
His expectations were high off the gate. He was put into a position to become the main man for an organization that was horrible for the 5 previous years, only winning 19 games in that span. He was going to begin the healing process; they now had a budding top 4-5 back, behind some of the greats, like Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson.
Quite a bit to take in, as a rookie, but he in fact, was behind an unheard of Justin Fargas, in his 1st season, rushing for only 499 YDs and just 4 TDs, but catching 29 out of the backfield for 285. The Raiders ended the season with 5 wins, just 1 more than the season before.
The Raider’s history at the RB position doesn’t really carry much power, based largely off the career of Marcus Allen, wearing the silver and black. When Allen was their star RB, they were respectable for the most part of his career, winning 10+ games in 4 seasons.
Thus far in McFadden’s young career, he has been showing potential, and overall has been fairly successful. With 16 TDs, and 2627 rushing yards, already 15th on the Raiders list in only 4 years, and also a nice option out of the backfield player, with 116 receptions.
Problem is, without him where do they go. He has had a number of issues with delicateness. Missing 19 games out of 64 possible games, this puts him basically only a 3rd year player with games missed. So in effect you’re looking at a back that generally plays only 11 games a season. On the whole, has missed 30% of his career so far with injuries. He’s not a sturdy player, and it’s hard to have a lot of faith that this is going to change if you are a Raiders fans. He also has struggled with holding onto the ball, a problem that could be fixed; see Tiki Barber and Adrian Peterson. So if McFadden misses time this year, and odds say he likely will, how much does he mean to Oakland?
Quite a bit.
The Raiders have a potential great player as far as skills go, in my opinion, but he’s soft. He’s too injury prone for me to trust him. It’s a different era of the game, and RBs are classically not the main reason for a team winning the championship anymore, it’s a passing league, we hear it time and time again. And it is true. If the Raiders get their passing game on track, and with Palmer, I think they can still get 3+ years out of him of some worth, add a WR1 and a TE for him and maybe they can make a decent run.