Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle recently caught up with Raiders running back Darren McFadden , who said he has fully recovered from his injury last season and is "back to the grind, getting ready for the 2013 season."
McFadden got hurt once again in 2012, missing four games due to a sprained ankle. But unlike previous years, McFadden didn't make the games he did play in count with big performances. It was one of McFadden's worst as he averaged just 3.3 yards per carry and scored three touchdowns in 12 games. Part of the blame can be focused on the Raiders' running scheme. McFadden has been a power-running back his entire career, and he had a tough time transitioning to Greg Knapp's zone-blocking scheme.
"I looked forward to trying it, but no, it didn't work," McFadden said about zone blocking. "Sometimes it's hard to say that you can't do something, but as an offense, we couldn't ... so now we're back to trying something else."
That something else is something familiar to McFadden. Knapp is out, and Greg Olson is in as offensive coordinator. He is a power-run coach, something McFadden knows suits him well.
"This is very exciting for me," McFadden said. "I am the type of guy who likes to go downhill, make a cut and go; that's my thing. We'll mix it up like we used to, and get some zones in there, but for the most part, I will be keeping my shoulders toward the line of scrimmage."
There are a few of reasons to be high on McFadden this year (contract year, familiar scheme, obvious talent). It comes down to -- as it always has with McFadden -- how willing you are to take on his injury risk. I tried it last year for the first time, and it backfired in a big way. It probably scared me off going forward. If you do draft him, you know what you are getting: A player who has the abilities to be a top-3 RB if he can ever play 16 games. McFadden hasn't come close to doing that yet in five seasons. So, do you feel lucky?