It's hard to ignore what Darren McFadden can do on the football field. However, it's also hard to ignore how much time he misses off the football field due to injury. The critical statistics are 13, 12, 13 and 7. Those are the number of games that McFadden has played in each respective season since entering the NFL in 2008. He was limited by turf toe that year. He suffered a torn meniscus in '09. He had a hamstring strain in 2010 and then a Lisfranc sprain -- or as McFadden calls it, "Liz Frank" -- in 2011.
But McFadden doesn't see his consistent appearance on the injury report as a reason for concern. As far as he is concered, he's just a victim of bad luck.
"I can't worry about last year," McFadden said Sunday. "Or that people say I always get hurt. I am always in shape, and I work hard. ... If anyone has any answers as to how I can avoid getting hurt, with these fluke-type injuries, I would love to hear them."
Luck certainly plays a part. But after four years, you have to think of McFadden's problems as a trend, no? Granted, his four major injuries affected different areas of his lower body. But it's gotten to the point where you expect him to miss at least a few games.
Making the decision to draft McFadden in the first round even tougher is that he's arguably been the league's best running back when healthy during the past two seasons. In 2010, He gained more than 1,600 yards from scrimmage and scored 10 times despite missing three weeks. In 2011, he was on pace for more than 1,700 yards and 11 touchdowns. The potential is so, so great that if McFadden falls to No. 9, which is his current ADP, according to FFToolbox, I'll have to take him and hope for the best.