Drew Boylhart December 2007
Darren McFadden   RB   Arkansas

STRENGTHS

Darren has the size, strength, speed and instincts to be one of the best RBís at the next level to ever play.  He shows great change of speed and burst.  He has the strength and balance to run both inside and outside the tackles.  He looks to be a tough kid who can play nicked up and take the pounding at the next level.  Darren has the athletic ability to make the players around him better.  It looks like he has good hands when catching the ball out of the backfield, and is an excellent special teams player.  Darren is worthy of being a top five pick in this draft and has the potential to be one of the better backs to ever play at the NFL level.

NEEDS TO IMPROVE

Fumbles
, fumbles, fumbles!  He must learn to protect the ball better or he will be a bust at the next level.  He must learn to pass block to stay on the field as an every down player.  Darren also must learn how to set up his blocks.  Right now, he just outruns everyone.  He also must mature on the field and off the field to become the player his talents suggest that he can become.  I have no doubt that he will do just that.

TALENT BOARD ROUND 1
Darren has to learn to refine his overall game to become the Pro Bowl player that I know he can become.  Itís the little things -- like setting up blocks, picking up blitzes, NOT FUMBLING, not trying to do everything all by himself, learning that every play does not have to be a big play, etc.  These are the normal issues that a very talented college football player has to learn to be successful at the next level.  Itís simple:  it comes down to on-the-field football maturity!  While Darren learns these things, he can be a weapon and a match-up nightmare on special teams.  If Darren is used in his first year like Reggie Bush  or Cadillac Williams by their respective NFL teams, he will impact right away.  But Darren has something that both of those two players lacked coming into the NFL.  Darren has the strength and ability to be a force as a RB in-between the tackles as well as outside the tackles.  This makes him special.  This makes his long range upside potential even greater than both those two players when they came into the NFL.  Darren can carry the load, but to do so, he must learn to stay healthy.  He must learn when running through the tackles to burst through the hole and then, at the second level, to run inside/outside so that when he is tackled, his body motion is going with the tackle and not against the tackle.  All the great backs learned this early in their careers.  Look at film of Curtis Martin, Emmitt Smith, Thurman Thomas and others and you will see that unless they were in the red zone, they ran through the tackles to the second level and then inside/outside so that their bodies would not take the full punishment of a tackle.  Darren has immature RB football skills.  A smart team will realize this and draft him knowing that Darren can impact right away without touching the ball that much and give him a chance to develop into a complete back.  If Darren is put on the field as an every down back right now, the team that drafts him will run a big risk in Darren becoming a bust.  He will continue to fumble and he will get injured because of his running style.  I have seen some film of the great Gayle Sayers (RB Chicago Bears); Darren looks like a bigger, stronger version of him.  I love this kidís talent and I would draft him in a New York minute if I had the first pick in this draft!