There is no question that, when healthy, Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden is one of the more explosive players in the National Football League. McFadden has averaged nearly five yards per carry (5.3 yards per carry over the last two seasons) and over 10 yards per reception during his career.
The problem is that the No. 4 overall draft pick of the 2008 NFL Draft has not been able to stay healthy. In four NFL seasons, McFadden has missed 19 of a possibly 64 games, missing at least three games in each season. The bulk of those games lost to injury came due to a Lisfranc foot injury during the second half of the 2011 season.
With Michael Bush moving on in free agency, the Raiders are counting on McFadden this season. Head coach Dennis Allen told our "NFL AM" crew that McFadden, who turns 25 next week, is healthy and the team has no intention of babying him this season.
"He's 100 percent," Allen said of McFadden. "He's been extremely explosive throughout camp and in the preseason. He's very vital to our offense and giving our offense a chance to be explosive and keeping defenses honest. So we're going to have to be able to keep him healthy and use him throughout the year.
"I think the thing that you look at is as a running back, I mean, it's a tough position. They take some shots and that's part of football. We can't baby him. We can't protect him. We got to go out there and play football and give him an opportunity to carry the ball, and we hope that he's able to stay healthy.
Follow Brian McIntyre on Twitter @brian_mcintyre.