Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Darren McFadden, the next 60 million dollar baby? Don't count on it.

Darren McFadden is a premier player. He's far and away the most dynamic, capable, sure-thing running back in a draft year overflowing with them. He may be the best player in this entire draft class.
However fortunate he was to receive such physical gifts, the luck did not extend to this year's NFL standings. Let's take a look at the worst teams in the league this year.
Miami is absolutely freaking dreadful. I vomit several days' worth of spinach and saliva just imagining their squad.... and there goes a new keyboard.
There's one position they're quite strong at, though. Ronnie Brown was averaging a staggering 5.2 runs per carry and shouldering a great deal of carries before becoming sidelined prior to the season's midway point.
The Rams are fairly bad. Not quite as awful as most people may think upon glancing at their record (I can't recall another team that was hit by injuries this badly all at once). In adhering to St. Louis tradition, however, they have some terrific skill-position players, foremost amongst them feature back Steven Jackson.
The Raiders' offense looks like a collegiate one at times. Take a look, however, at their box scores during the last five games. Justin Fargas has been producing at an outstanding level. This is not to say that he's the long-term asnwer at the position, but It's something to consider. And if he keeps this sort of production up, the woebegone Raiders should look elsewhere with that top five pick.
Now we come to the Falcons. Oh good god. People enjoyed harping on Michael Vick, and I don't count myself amongst the minority who defended the man. But his lack of presence is being clearly felt in Atlanta. I've long held this theory about running quarterbacks: They cause the running backs to instantly look a ton more productive. The defense devotes people to staying back and watching the QB, and it not only keeps rushers on the edge rather than in his face-but allows the tailbacks room to move. The once-ageless Warrick Dunn has suddenly hit an insurmountable wall, and Jorius Norwood isn't getting enough carries to justify a starting spot to. And with the Petrino resignation, that situation will not become any less turbulent.
However, I think the Falcons go after a QB in this draft. Brian Brohm, Andre' Woodson, and Matt Ryan are all very, very justifiable names at the top of a draft board, and this team is in dire need of a QB after letting 2 good ones go this offseason.
The Jets may be the best fit. A third round pick begat Thomas Jones, but aside from a random 100 yard game against-of all teams- Pittsburgh, he's been merely mediocre in New York. McFadden would seem like a perfect fit, but for whatever reason most mocks I've seen have them going with a defensive player (Chris Long/Sedrick Ellis/James Laurinitis).
San Fransisco? Oh, how I feel for them. And for the rest of the league. Because this selection now belongs to the New England freaking Patriots. Perhaps one of the greatest teams in this league's history will wind up with a draft pick forseeably as high as #2. I fankly have no idea where NE will go with this pick, and it is possible that they draft McFadden to alleviate the sophomorely slumping Laurence Maroney, but I doubt they will spend two first rounders in three years on running backs.
The Ravens? Until this season, it would have been a perfect match. But Baltimore has found Wilis McGahee, and that relationship has gone satisfactorily. Mcgahee's playing like many foresaw before his big collegiate injury.
To be frank, I think the worst team that would certainly take McFadden if he fell into their laps is Cincinatti. And while they're certainly not a great squad, their pick shouldn't be higher than 7 or 8.
If McFadden's available for the Panthers' pick, he will be gone faster than a 12 oz steak in front of Tony Siragusa. But they aren't one of the truly woeful teams in this league. Not that they're anywhere near mediocre. The Chiefs? It'd make sense if they hadn't given Larry Johnson a record contract a few mere months ago. Da Bears? Same dilemma as the Falcons, accentuated by the fact that they made the mistake of taking Cedric Benson #4 not too long ago.
My point is this. I personally am not one of those who condones trading for the rights to Darren McFadden. But if Jerry makes up his mind and refuses to budge, the cost could be a lot more reasonable than what I'm hearing from most people.
And if he slides past the top 5, expect Jerry to frantically hit the phones directly prior to either the Panthers or Bengals.

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