Darren McFadden #20 RB
Height: 6-1 Weight: 218 Age: 27
Born: 8/27/1987 Little Rock , AR
Experience: 7th season
High School: Oak Grove HS [North Little Rock, AR]
- 40 Yard Dash4.33 Secs
- Broad Jump128.0 inches
Positives: Has a solid, thick build with tapered thighs and calves, athletic physique with a tight waist and hips, low body fat and defined upper body...Has the quick feet and balance to pick his way through trash, doing a nice job of staying upright to power through the initial tackle...Has the pick-and-slide agility to make defenders miss, showing outstanding acceleration and flexibility when changing direction...He has that rare speed and explosive second gear to be very elusive getting through traffic, thanks to sharp lateral cuts...Plays with good toughness, lowering his head and driving hard with his legs after contact...Can bounce off tackles and gives good second effort when his initial move fails...Willing blocker who shows the ability to pick up blitzes and will chip defenders with good intent and purpose...Has the field vision and awareness to find the open crease and excels at anticipating cutback lanes...Looks natural with the ball in his hands, as he is a threat running, throwing or catching the ball, but did have ball-security issues as a junior...Understands blocking schemes but will out-run his protection at times...Highly respected by the staff and teammates, demonstrating a solid work ethic...Might not be able to always push the pile, but has the functional lower-body strength to stay up, bounce off and execute his lateral range with good quickness...Has that initial step needed to accelerate and get to top speed quickly and clear the holes...Gets a quick start, as seen in the way he demonstrates crisp cutting ability and is the type that doesn't need to gear down when changing direction...When he shows patience running with the ball, he has the extra burst to get through trash...He gets off the snap smoothly, thanks to his suddenness coming out of his stance...Has natural running instincts, showing a very nice feel for the rush lanes, as he anticipates openings and has made marked improvement in using his vision to set up his blocks...His vision allows him to see threats well and play the hand that he is dealt (see 2007 Alabama, Kentucky, South Carolina and Louisiana State games)...Has the feet to sidestep trash and the body control to slide through holes, doing a nice job of bursting through tight seams...With his superb balance, he is very smooth when changing direction, showing a sudden burst out of his cuts...Lowers his head and squares his shoulders to compete for extra yards after contact...Has the speed to get outside, make the cut and turn it up the field, as he uses quick footsteps when running in-line...Maintains acceleration bursting past the line of scrimmage and is more than just a one-cut runner...His acceleration allows him to separate and his body controls allows him to maintain balance throughout his runs...Makes quick decisions, especially on the jump-cut...Has outstanding lateral range to slip off tackles in the open...Has the speed to get downfield in a hurry on pass routes and is fluid and quick getting into his patterns...Understands coverage and where he fits catching underneath throws...Does a good job of reaching and plucking the ball, especially on screens...Natural hands catcher who can snatch the ball outside his frame work...Will take on the blitz and has developed good cut-blocking skills...Will not hesitate to face up and stone the opponent blocking in-line...Very easy for him to change direction with his balance and plant-and-drive agility. Negatives: Has very good field vision, but needs to show more patience waiting for his blocks to develop (will out-run his protection, at times)...Strong open-field runner, but needs to develop better ball security and protect the ball closer to his body, as fumble issues posed a big problem in 2007 (15 fumbles, five turnovers, see Chattanooga, Troy, Florida International and Louisiana State games)...Has good inside running skills, but must improve his lower-body strength...Will sometimes get upright in his stance, allowing defenders to clog the rush lanes (see 2007 Chattanooga, Auburn, Mississippi State and Louisiana State games)...Protects the ball well in traffic, but most of his turnovers come on improper ball distribution in the open...Also has a high amount of fumbles fielding the kickoff, as he tends to run before securing the ball...Was hurt in an off-field fight in July, 2006, undergoing surgery to repair a left toe fracture...Has natural hands as a receiver, but needs to improve extending for the pass away from his frame...Sometimes drifts in his routes and needs to show better cutting ability on his breaks. Compares To: MARSHALL FAULK-ex-St. Louis...McFadden is a stronger runner than Faulk, but both are blessed with exception vision, using pitter-patter feet to get through trash and the "home run" acceleration to separate from defenders past the line of scrimmage. He is an efficient receiver out of the backfield, running precise routes and could even be split wide. He has the arm strength to throw the option pass and can also earn playing time as a kickoff returner, but needs to work on ball-security issues after he had 15 fumbles in 2007, many of them on special teams. He is certainly the best athlete eligible for the 2008 draft and has an array of weapons that will make any offensive coordinator drool. In an imaginative offense, he could be a regular participant in the Pro Bowl.