From The Cover Two
I'm not going to sit here and tell you that you should spend a first round pick on a running back who has yet to break the 500-yard mark in his career, but I am going to sit here and tell you why you should not write him off entirely.
Yes, I said it. The man who ran 104 times while gaining 357 yards in 2009 will breakout in the 2010 season and here is why.
McFadden is only in his third year in the NFL, which makes him just 22 years old (he'll be 23 when the season starts). Most running backs begin to peak between the ages of 23 and 27.
McFadden only had 104 carries last season. With the Raiders releasing running back Justin Fargas during the off-season, this clears up around 129 rushing attempts from last year, giving McFadden more reps in practice.
During the off-season, quarterback Donovan McNabb was traded from the Philadelphia Eagles to the Washington Redskins, which ended up with the Redskins former starting QB Jason Campbell ending up on the Oakland Raiders. I understand Campbell isn't Tom Brady, but it's certainly an upgrade from JaMarcus Russell and Bruce Gradkowski.
Campbell has thrown over 3,200 yards in the past two seasons. He will help the Raiders' young corps of receivers, which include Darrius Heyward-Bey, Louis Murphyand Chaz Schillens, stretch out the football field.
People say a running game's best friend is a good passing game, and that's what Campbell can provide. He provides stability to the Raiders offense and will help focus off the running game by making defenders focus more on the passing game.
I have not forgotten about Michael Bush, the other Raiders RB. Bush will get a lot of carries as a compliment to McFadden. In this day and age, we are seeing a lot of NFL teams go to a two-back system. There have only been six teams with two 1,000 yard rushers in the same season. Three happened in the past four seasons.
I'm not going to say the Raiders will have two 1,000 yard rushers, but it's more than possible to have two rushers share success on the same team.
According to a source from NFL.com's Jason La Canfora, he said this of McFadden:
"He's very humble and is working his ass off," the source said. "He's finishing every run to the second level and doing extra work. It could be a breakout year."
When you add in the fact that he's still young, the Raiders as a team are improving, and they have a much improved quarterback to take attention away from the run, you have a formula of success for McFadden.
So before you write off every player that plays for the Oakland Raiders, take a second and realize that they are an improving team. It all starts with one season. This is the year they turn things around for the franchise.
This is the year McFadden finally gets it done.