As the Oakland Raiders prepare for the 2013 season, they will need to incorporate Darren McFadden into the offense.
The oft-injured running back has been hampered by injuries his whole career, making it hard for the team to gain any continuity. However, despite the injuries, “DMC” is by far the Raider’s most prized asset.
After being selected in the first-round (4th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft, DMC was supposed to be the savior of a struggling franchise. McFadden was highly praised coming out of Arkansas, being named the SEC Offensive Player of the Year, all while posting the second-fastest 40 time (4.33) at the NFL scouting combine.
A true blue-chip athlete, DMC was often being regarded as the best pure prospect in the draft. Fast forward five years, and the Raiders now find themselves wondering if they made the right choice.
In McFadden’s first five seasons, he has racked up 3,334 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns (5 receiving). Not great stats considering DMC was a former top five selection.
In addition, he has been plagued by injuries, evidenced by being inactive for 25 out of 80 regular season games, good for a 69 percent durability rate. As the Raider Nation grows increasingly frustrated with DMC’s lack of production, I will be the first to tell you, this year provides greener pastures.
First of all, DMC will be playing under a new offensive philosophy. New offensive coordinator Greg Olson, will throw out the zone-blocking scheme in favor of power-blocking, a scheme more suitable for the Raiders current personnel. No longer will McFadden have to wait for blocks to develop before hitting the hole, or read a defense before anticipating a cut-back. DMC’s speed is his biggest strength, and Olson will do everything in his power to get him in the best position to make plays.
Also, DMC will greatly benefit from this year’s NFL Draft. Although guards are not a hot commodity in the NFL Draft, the Raiders would get a true Pro-Bowler in Alabama’s Chance Warmack.
The guy is an absolute mauler, and will blow up holes for McFadden to run through. Warmack has often been compared to another Pro Bowl guard in Steve Hutchinson (Tennessee Titans). Regarded by many to be one of the best offensive line’s college football has ever seen, Warmack will provide the Raiders with a physical presence down in the trenches, all while helping McFadden develop.
In addition to getting offensive line help, McFadden is one of the best pure runners in space. His blazing speed combined with his physical running style will wear down defenses all day long. Plus, the Raiders play the Chiefs twice a year, which should bode well for DMC’s rushing stats, as he rushed for 224 yards in two games last year against Kansas City.
DMC is one of the best running backs in the game, he just needs to be in the right system to thrive, and with Greg Olson running the show, you can bet Darren McFadden will become the Pro-Bowler we all knew he was capable of being.