Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden are expected to provide the Raiders with an interesting one-two punch out of the backfield this season. Jones-Drew told Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle on Tuesday, "There's no reason why we can't be one of the best one-two punches in the league."
But which running back is "one" and which running back is "two" has yet to be determined. The two will battle for the lead role in training camp, and Jones-Drew said that's one of the reasons why he signed with the Raiders. Although he will have to share carries, he knew the Raiders would give him a shot to be a starter. That gave the Raiders a distinct advantage over the Steelers, another team MJD visited during his tour as a free agent. If he had signed there, he would have been a clear backup to Le'Veon Bell.
Jones-Drew isn't ready for that type of role yet. He said he's got "a lot left" and is looking forward to proving it this summer.
I expect MJD to win that camp competition and be the Raiders' majority runner. But he looked pretty done last season as he averaged just 3.4 yards per carry. At age 29, he may be trying to pump himself up to perform for a new team and with a new three-year contract. But I have to scoff at the idea that he has a lot of gas left in the tank. There is quite of bit of wear on his tires, and he may just never be the same after his 2012 Lisfranc injury.
Jones-Drew has plenty to prove this season after a forgettable 2013. I'm just not sure if his body is willing. I'd draft him only as high as a flex. And I'm done getting burned by the perpetually injured McFadden.