IRVING, Texas - With the Cowboys moving quickly on trying to replace DeMarco Murray, the signing of Darren McFadden is an intriguing one, considering he was once the No. 4 overall player in the draft. In 2008, the Raiders took the Arkansas standout and after seven seasons, it's safe to say McFadden didn't live up to the lofty expectations, having played for a variety of offensive coordinators and head coaches.
So with what he calls a "fresh start" in Dallas, McFadden will now get to prove himself all over again.
The two co-hosts of "The Draft Show" - Bryan Broaddus and Dane Brugler – provide a pair of McFadden scouting reports. Let's look first at how Broaddus evaluated McFadden from his most recent season in Oakland.
And following that, Brugler offers up his pre-draft report on McFadden back in 2008.
Broaddus on McFadden:
Games Studied: Oakland vs. San Diego, New England, Buffalo (all in 2014)
- Was an interesting study due to rookie David Carr starting at quarterback. There were plenty of snaps where he faced eight and nine men in the box.
- Thought in those situations he showed physical toughness and competes. Offensive line did him no favors as well. Snaps where as soon as Carr handed him the ball - he was hit. When he had a chance to get going, he showed initial quickness with acceleration and a burst.
- Can get the ball to the corner and around. Nice runs against the Chargers and Bills doing just that. Able to make the first man miss then apply a stiff arm to finish the run. Will lower his shoulder and take on the tackler. Showed the vision to make the cut when things opened up. Hard downhill runner on the toss sweep against the Chargers.
- Really good lateral agility and change of direction. Did not see him drop a ball that was thrown in his direction. Will check down over the ball and make the catch or work to the outside and adjust to the screen. Was able to adjust to a ball that was high from Carr. Gathered it in and worked up the field.
- Will follow his blockers. Can make the cuts, needs to keep his feet better on contact in the open field. Couple of snaps where if he could have kept his balance, he would have had a larger gain.
- Aware to help on blitz, sees defense and adjusts. Steps up and stays square to handle his man. Stays on feet to work rusher to the outside. Keeps his feet moving on contact. Did cut block one time but that was after a play fake to the outside. Will cut block some on the edge.
- Will protect the ball when he runs inside. Runs better on the edge than he does inside.
- His running style is more elusive than Murray's. Split time with several backs during the games I studied but has some three down traits.
- Was really surprised of his willingness, technique and finish as a pass blocker.
Dane Brugler's report on McFadden (2008)
Dynamic playmaker…great size/speed combination…rare physical tools…powerful and tough…explosive
Lean-framed leads to durability concerns…unproven as a pass catcher…ball security has been an issue
- Highly recruited out of high school, McFadden has a rare combination of athleticism, speed and strength. He finished second in the Heisman voting as a sophomore in 2006 and again in 2007. McFadden became the first sophomore to win the Doak Walker Award (Nation's top running back) and joined Ricky Williams as the only two-time winner, earning the award again in 2007.
- He has a slim frame, but is deceivingly powerful and picks up the tough yards inside. He has outstanding quickness and is explosive up the middle and on the edges. McFadden will wear down at the point of attack.
- He is a hard worker and always trying to get better, according to his coaches. McFadden is a leader and nonstop competitor. He is a dynamic player with the ability to score any time he touches the ball with elusiveness and agility, showing all the physical tools and natural instincts.
- McFadden has good patience and field vision to work gaps. He offers one of the best stiff-arms around and was rarely tackled by the first defender in college. McFadden needs to improve his ball security and hold onto the ball.
- He battled nagging injuries at Arkansas, but nothing serious.
McFadden leaves Arkansas with several school records, rushing for 1,000+ yards each of the last three years, including 1,830 yards and 18 rushing touchdowns as a junior. He rushed for 100+ yards in 10 games in 2007, including 195 yards at Alabama, 206 yards at LSU and 321 yards vs. South Carolina. McFadden's production was aided by the Razorbacks gimmicky offense, but opponents knew he was the main weapon and still couldn't stop him. Although his body type leads to durability concerns, he is one of the most explosive options in the 2008 NFL Draft class and worthy of a mid-first round pick.
40-yard dash: 4.33
10-yard split: 1.51
Bench press: 13
Broad Jump: 10'8"
Short Shuttle: 4.10
3-Cone Drill: 6.86