What I’m about to say is incomprehensible. After it is all said and done, Darren McFadden could be the best running back to ever wear Silver and Black.
Now, I grew up watching Marcus Allen and Bo Jackson. Since their careers ended I’ve never seen any running back with the speed and grace of Allen. Nor have I witnessed the pure power and unrivaled athletic ability of Jackson.
I’m here to tell you that Run DMC has everything both aforementioned men had and then some.
Let me first start by saying that I think Bo Jackson is the greatest athlete in the history of sports. I can’t help but think what could have been had Bo decided to dedicate himself to football fulltime. I’m pretty sure Emmitt Smith would be a distant second on the career rushing list. I’m almost certain the Raiders would still be in Los Angeles and there would be another Lombardi or two smiling at Al Davis when he shows up at the office every morning.
So believe me, to think another human being could rival Bo on the field is something not even I thought was possible. But I’m here to tell you that after what I witnessed in Jacksonville on Sunday I have no problem saying McFadden will go down as the greatest runner in Raiders history.
To begin, McFadden plays in a different era than Allen and Jackson. In their day, Marcus and Bo had an athletic advantage every time they stepped off the bus. That is not the case today. McFadden isn’t the fastest man in the NFL let alone at his own position. By virtue of the fact that Run DMC is doing this against athletes groomed from a young age to play the game says a lot.
In addition, McFadden’s footwork is off the charts. Much like Allen, when McFadden sees a lane all it takes is one cut and he’s gone. Unlike Allen, McFadden has the vision to setup defenders 5-10 yards downfield with the most minor body postures that create narrow lanes which the former Razorback explodes through. As an example, review this run against Denver. With the line opening a nice hole, the rest is Run DMC. What makes this run possible is just the simple move of chopping his steps to get D.J. Williams to hesitate in the hole and go head first into the dirt, getting a good look at those quick feet. From there it’s time to turn on the jets. Peace!
Lastly, we come to the man atop the Mt. Rushmore of running backs – Bo Jackson. It’s hard to say McFadden is that much better than Bo but his late TD run in Jacksonville is definitely something only Bo could accomplish. The power, the grace, the vision, the speed, the angry stiff arm and the nose for the end zone, it is all on display. I’m not so sure Bo could make some of the cuts McFadden makes. That is a scary thought.
Now all of this is just opinion. However, if we see a healthy Run DMC for a full 16 games I’m willing to bet he’ll break every franchise record there is for running backs. As it stands now, McFadden is on pace to have the second greatest single season in franchise history. Come next year, he could push Allen out of the top spot. Only time will tell. For now, just enjoy watching a man that could go down as the greatest Raider ever after it’s all said and done.
Yeah, I said it!