Let Er Rip
On draft day, the Raiders were given the choice of 2 distinct paths. The fork in the road came as soon as the Falcons turned in their draft card to select QB Matt Ryan. One path, Glenn Dorsey Road, was to add a cog to our run D which was considered "safe, sensible, solid" by many arm chair GMs like myself. The other path, Darren McFadden Avenue, was to select a dynamic playmaker that would add a whole new dimension to the Raiders offense. As you know by now, the Raiders swung for the fences with the 1st round selection of Darren McFadden aka Run DMc.
A new day and exciting era in Raider football is upon us. The big play running threat of Run DMc coupled with a franchise QB in JaMarcus Russell who can stretch the field vertically gives the Raiders offense in 2008 the capabilities to be highly explosive, balanced, and diversified.
Darren McFadden had an amazing 3 year career at Arkansas where he compiled 4,485 rushing yards (5.9 average per carry) and scored 40 touchdowns in 37 games played. Here are the notes from McFadden's scouting report:
Darren McFadden Height: 6-1 1/4 Weight: 211 40-Time: 4.33
An outstanding natural athlete...Has very good size...Excellent timed speed with a burst...Has great vision and instincts...Big play threat who can take it the distance at any time..Elusive with nice feet..Quick and agile...Real strong...Tough and loves contact...Runs hard and does not go down easy...Has decent hands and can be a weapon in the passing game..Plays with a nasty demeanor..Extremely productive.
Has some off-the-field and character questions...Legs and lower body are a little thin....Might run too high and open himself up to big hits...Could still improve as a blocker...Does not have a ton of experience as a receiver...Did not really play in a conventional offense in college and shared the workload...Ball security is an issue.
Burst onto the scene as a true freshman...The Heisman Trophy runner-up as both a sophomore and a junior...In the summer of '06 he dislocated his toe (which later required surgery) while trying to kick someone during a fight outside a night club at 4am...In January of 2008 was handcuffed during a disturbance outside of a bar shortly after midnight because according to the police report he was agitated and provoking aggressive behavior inciting the incident....Often worked as a shotgun quarterback in the Razorbacks "Wildcat" package and showed the ability to throw the ball...Pure football player with all the physical tools who is as good or perhaps an even better prospect than Adrian Peterson was coming out...A rare talent who should rank amongst the top running backs in the NFL very early in his pro career.
It is thrilling to realize that JaMarcus Russell has all of the tools and weapons at his disposal to be very successful. In the passing attack, Javon Walker and Drew Carter are both athletic, fast, big receivers. Ronald Curry is an excellent possession receiver. TE Zach Miller should be able to build upon his productive rookie season (44 receptions) and provide a nice security blanket for Russell. In the backfield, we now have an electric, home run hitter in Run DMc in combination with the tough, hard charging Justin Fargas. Dominic Rhodes can be utilized in some special offensive packages. What role, if any, Michael Bush plays in 2008 is unknown. Bush could be used possibly in some red zone packages as well as short yardage plays. Lamont Jordan will be cut on June 1st.
Although RB wasn't a "need" pick for the Raiders, I understand how a special player of McFadden's caliber should not be passed over. When you review the Raiders offense of 2007, it becomes quite clear that one of the missing components was a big play, game changing element.
2007 Offense Scoring
28 TDS (11 rushing TDs #19 ranking; 17 receiving TDs #24)
17.7 pts/g #23 ranking
With McFadden in the backfield, the Raiders opponents will need to be on their guard to contain our rushing attack. If the opponent's D sticks 8 men in the box and the rush ends aren't pinning their ears back to rush the passer, it clearly will open up the passing game. Give me play action pass with Walker/Carter in single coverage and Russell pulling the trigger and I will love our chances to have an explosive, unpredictable offense. Let er rip!