McFadden offers Raiders a chance at rejuvenation
Al Davis just couldn't resist selecting Arkansas RB Darren McFadden with the fourth overall pick. And you know what? The boss finally might have gotten a top-10 selection right.
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- On Thursday, Raiders coach Lane Kiffin reiterated what he had said earlier this month: Darren McFadden wasn't needed in Oakland because the Raiders are loaded at the position.This week, McFadden's mother, Mini Muhammad, was quoted as saying she thought the Bay Area was too big for her Little Rock, Ark., bred son -- thus she didn't want him to be drafted by the Raiders. What Kiffin and McFadden's mother failed to realize is that Al Davis runs the Oakland Raiders. Davis wanted McFadden and there was no way Davis wasn't going to get him, regardless of the concerns expressed by Kiffin and Muhammad. Oakland made the University of Arkansas halfback the fourth overall pick in the NFL draft Saturday. McFadden is a Raider because Davis couldn't pass up on the speedy game-breaker who many in the NFL project will have the same immediate impact as Adrian Peterson did last season as a rookie in Minnesota. Davis just couldn't resist. And you know what? The boss finally might have nailed a draft pick. The Raiders, who have failed miserably in the draft for the past five years, need an identity. They need a face of the franchise. They need a superstar player who can help turn around the fortunes of perhaps the worst professional sports franchise. In the past five seasons, the Raiders have won 19 games combined -- just three more victories than the New England Patriots captured in the 2007 regular season.
There is no fast fix here, but McFadden gives instant hope to one of the worst offenses in NFL history. Adding one spectacular player who can be a building block is a smart move. McFadden is the right choice.Sure, Oakland passed on LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, who was taken one spot later by AFC West rival Kansas City. Oakland needs a defensive lineman. Dorsey is likely going to be a longtime stalwart who will make multiple Pro Bowl trips. But Dorsey wouldn't make Oakland relevant. McFadden can. The Vikings are being chatted up as an NFC contender this year because of Peterson's presence. Star running backs bring that type of cachet to a team. McFadden has a chance to be that guy for Oakland. And do the Raiders ever need him to step up and be that guy. Kiffin has made the point that the Raiders have plenty of running backs. Between Justin Fargas (who just re-signed with the Raiders this offseason), Dominic Rhodes, LaMont Jordan and Michael Bush, who still is recovering from a serious college leg injury, the Raiders didn't seem to have room for McFadden. With all due respect to Fargas, Rhodes, Jordan and Bush, the Raiders do have room for McFadden. This is a player who can rush for 1,500 yards and be a threat to score every time he touches the ball. The other Raiders running backs are serviceable. And now they are serviceable reserves. Any team that can throw fresh backs at an opponent in the second half is going to be a team that wins a lot of games.
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2008 NFL DRAFT
The 2008 draft lasted 14 hours, 26 minutes. Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long (above), selected by Miami, was the No. 1 overall pick. This year's Mr. Irrelevant -- the last pick in the draft -- is David Vobora, a linebacker from Idaho selected by St. Louis with the 252nd pick.
Round-by-round, team-by-team picks• Round: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7
• AFC East: Buffalo | Miami | N. England | NY Jets
• AFC North: Baltimore | Cinc. | Cleve. | Pitt.
• AFC South: Houston | Indy | Jax | Tennessee
• AFC West: Denver | K.C. | Oakland | San Diego
• NFC East: Dallas | NYG | Philadephia | Wash.
• NFC North: Chicago | Detroit | G.B. | Minnesota
• NFC South: Atlanta | Carolina | N.O. | Tampa
• NFC West: Arizona | S.F. | St. Louis | Seattle
Inside Radio City Music Hall• Panoramic views
Commentary/Features• Wickersham: Bears, Ravens take opposite turns
• Williamson: Remembering Heath Benedict
• Yasinskas: Falcons should be patient with Ryan
• Clayton: Six draft trends
• Chadiha: 10 great marriages
• Walker: NFC East draft review
• Sando: NFC West draft review
• Willamson: NFC North draft review
• Yasinskas: NFC South draft review
• Sando: AFC East draft review
• Williamson: AFC West draft review
• Walker: AFC North draft review
• Yasinskas: AFC South draft review
• Clayton: Day 1 winners and losers
• Williamson: Davis couldn't resist McFadden
• Walker: Ravens had to work for Flacco
• Sando: Long addresses Rams' D-line needs
• Chadiha: AFC East hustle continues on draft day
• Yasinskas: Ryan gives Falcons hope, identity
Mel Kiper• Kiper's team-by-team draft grades
• Day 1 good, bad moves: Questionable Titans
News• 2008 breaks previous trade record
• Jets sign NCAA career rushing leader Woodhead
• Lions pick Smith with first pick of second day
• Miami, Long make it official | NFL Local
Video• Green: First-round pick instant analysis
• Complete draft analysis
• One-on-one with Jake Long
• One-on-one with Chris Long
• One-on-one with Matt Ryan
• One-on-one with Darren McFadden
• One-on-one with Glenn Dorsey
• One-on-one with Vernon Gholston
• Ed Werder on Cowboys
• Norv Turner interview
• Fantasy Spin
Audio• Jake Long | Chris Long | Matt Ryan
• Darren McFadden | Vernon Gholston
• Glenn Dorsey | Keith Rivers | Chris Williams
• Lawrence Jackson
SportsNation• Vote: Best first-round pick? | Potential busts?
• Grades: How did your team fare?
Scouts Inc.• Analysis: Round 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7
Cheat Sheets: RB | DL | DB | LB | OL | REC | QB
• McShay: Seven-round mock draft
• Revisiting the 2005 draft | 2005 re-draft