Oakland Raiders: Stop with the Darren McFadden Talk

David WilsonCorrespondent IApril 9, 2008

Raiders: Stop all the DMC Talk  

Every where I turn, and every mock draft I read, I can’t get away from people predicting that Arkansas running back Darren McFadden will go to the Oakland Raiders with the No. 4 pick.

These drafts are, of course, written by people who know little or nothing about the Raiders and the direction that the team has been going in the last 12 months.  All they see is that McFadden is:

a)      An explosive player

b)      He has major character concerns

That, then, must make him and Al Davis guy straight away right? And Oakland will select him regardless of need?  I’m sorry to disappoint all those draft guru’s out there, but there is no chance of Davis going for McFadden with the 4th pick.  It just won’t happen, and there are very good reasons that it won’t.

Al now has Lane Kiffin at the helm of the team.  Kiffin may be young, but he is strong minded and has his own ideas.  When he was hired, he was given a much higher degree of autonomy than any coach since John Gruden as evidenced by the exodus of Raider assistant coaches last year.  Many had been there a long time, and Kiffin brought his own guys in. 

Despite the dispute between Davis and Kiffin, Kiffin was always going to be Oakland’s coach for 2008, and even before he came out and spoke last week, I had written it in my first article for this site.

Installing the zone blocking scheme under offensive line coach Tom Cable has been a big success, raising the Raiders in running offense from next to last in the league to 6th last year.  What you don’t need in the zone blocking scheme is a superstar back like McFadden.  Denver have proved that again and again.

Kiffin also has, even if you count out LaMont Jordan, three good Tailbacks under contract. 

Michael Bush would probably have been a first round pick if not for his injury (he is now fully fit), and Justin Fargas is coming off a 1000 yard season.  They will make a good tandem. Dominic Rhodes also has two 100 yd rushing games at the close of last season.  Oakland does not need Darren McFadden to win.

What they do need is the ability to stop the run.  They know that if they can’t do that, they won’t win games.  They haven’t addressed the defensive line in free agency, with the only player retained being Tommy Kelly.

That means that there are only two players that Oakland will take with the No. 4 pick; Chris Long or Glenn Dorsey. 

As I have already stated, I believe that Jake Long won’t get past St. Louis and No. 2, and Matt Ryan doesn’t get past Atlanta at No. 3.  That means either Dorsey or Long will be available at No. 4, and both are worthy of that selection.  That is where Al Davis goes this year, and I don’t see any reason to doubt that prediction.

If that doesn’t pan out for some reason and both are gone, the Raiders will look to trade down.  Their most likely trade partners will be the Jets or the Patriots.  Both, because of the defensive systems they play, will have a strong interest in Ohio State LB/DE Vernon Gholston.  Al will look to play one off against the other to get maximum value for any trade, and get more picks in what is a very strong draft class.

The Raiders could safely trade down to No. 6 or 7 and still get the only other player who would be of use to them in stopping the run, Sedrick Ellis.

And no, Lane Kiffin hasn’t called a misdirection play in stating that Oakland doesn’t need Darren McFadden. He is just stating the obvious.

For those who are predicting DeSean Jackson, that prediction isn’t even worth addressing.