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Roster Rundown: When Opportunity Knocked, McFadden Took Advantage

(Editor's Note: Throughout the off-season, staff writers will take a closer look at the roster, analyzing players' impact last season and how each fits into the team's 2016 plans. Today's Roster Rundown entry features running back Darren McFadden.)

Name: Darren McFadden
Position: Running Back
Height/Weight: 6-1 / 220
Experience: 8 seasons
College: Arkansas

Key stat: By rushing for over 1,000 yards, it marked the first time in franchise history that two different players reached that milestone in consecutive years. McFadden's 1,089 yards followed DeMarco Murray's club-record of 1,845 yards in 2014.

Contract Status: Signed through 2016.

2015 Impact: When he signed I felt like he was the most complete back on the roster and that proved to be that case. There were questions about his health and physical toughness but he was able to put those behind him. Just watching his tape from the Raiders I thought that he would be able to extend runs working with this offensive line when it came to his initial burst and acceleration which he was able to do. Was not as creative as I thought he might be but showed balance and body control in his carries. Played with surprising upper body strength and power in his runs. Vision to see the hole and make the correct cut. Was able to read blocks and show patience in allowing them to develop. Was a factor in the passing game with his ability to run routes and make a secure catch. Was a reliable target and blitz pickup blocker. Showed awareness and consistency in the way he played. Was a finisher in both run and pass. Had a couple of snaps where there was an issue on ball security. Was able to answer the bell when the situation turned badly for Joseph Randle.   

Where He Fits: Is a Pro's Pro and will do whatever is asked of him. Would feel comfortable with him as the starter or in that role off the bench if they chose to draft or sign a running back in free agency. Solid and dependable – is a perfect teammate. Not going to cause any problems or issues. Had plenty to prove and was able to make it all work. Still has talent and less wear and tear than you think for his age. Looking at another productive season from him.

Writers' Analysis:

Nick Eatman:When you look at pure value, McFadden might have been one of the best additions – not just by the Cowboys – but the entire league. Considering the Eagles gave Murray more than $8 million per season and the Cowboys paid McFadden about $1.5 million annually, it was a flat-out steal. Who knows what kind of yards McFadden would've put up had he started all year long. But after he took over for Joseph Randle, the veteran averaged 87.2 yards per game, including five 100-yard games. I think he proved he still has some gas in the tank but I would like to see the Cowboys draft a younger back – preferably in the top three rounds – to come in and challenge McFadden for the job. What I like the most about D-Mac is that he doesn't get caught up in the drama. If a young back came in and started, he would be able to handle that and still produce when his number is called.


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