Raiders make first-round gaffe

Darren McFadden is faster than any running back the Raiders have on their roster. He's also a capable receiver who the team plans on lining up as a wideout from time to time. He's all of that and then some, according to head coach Lane Kiffin. But he's not the one thing Oakland needed most

That's a run-stopping, gap-clogging, blocker-eating player like LSU's Glenn Dorsey.

Dorsey was there for the taking, too. It was as if the ball had been placed on the tee and all the Raiders had to do was swing for the fences.

They did and the whiff can be heard for miles.

While no one doubts McFadden's abilities and his potential to be an NFL superstar, one of Oakland's biggest problems since 2002 has been its inability to defend the run. That's particularly troubling in the AFC West where backs like LaDainian Tomlinson, Larry Johnson and anyone in a Broncos uniform rule the roost.

Kiffin's argument against drafting Dorsey was that the Raiders already have a starter at the three-technique position, Tommy Kelly, and that it didn't make sense to select Dorsey and pay him first-round money to play out of position.

Fair enough but it's a pretty fair bet the Raiders wouldn't have given the $50 million contract that included $18.25 million in guarantees if they thought Dorsey would have been available.

The consensus is that Dorsey will be a major force in the NFL, a player who will draw double-teams on every play. The Raiders will find that out quickly, because Dorsey's with the Chiefs and will get a shot at McFadden and Oakland twice a year.

As for McFadden, he's got the potential to be a game-breaking running back who, if he pans out, will take a lot of the pressure of second-year quarterback JaMarcus Russell.

If he doesn't, however, things could go bad quickly. Pro Football Weekly calls McFadden a boom-or-bust prospect and summarizes him by saying he "appears destined to break a team's heart and could ultimately cost a decision-maker his job if too much is invested in him."

Oakland Raiders Top Stories