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Just say no to McFadden

February 24th, 2008

Why? Not because he’s short on talent. In fact, he’s probably the most talented player in this draft class. But for two reasons, the first of which is because he plays running back.

And while running back certainly is an important position on the football field, it hasn’t quite shown that it’s a pivotal piece to team building.

Looking over the past decade or so at the elite running backs, and very few of them have Super Bowl rings. Many of them have played in Super Bowls, but almost everyone of them in order to win that game, needed a top quarterback. The bottom line is that if you want to build a foundation for your offense, you need to start with the quarterback position. Tiki Barber, Jerome Bettis, Barry Sanders, LaDainian Tomlinson, Emmitt Smith, Marshall Faulk, Edgerrin James, Curtis Martin, Corey Dillon, etc. have all been great running backs over the years, but none of them have been able to earn a Super Bowl ring without a quality passer backing them up.

The Falcons are at a point where they are starting over. We hear the term rebuilding a lot, but for the Falcons it’s going to be a complete overhaul. Where things are stripped down and built from the ground up. The first piece should not be a running back, simply because despite their greatness, teams cannot win championships if they are built around a running back.

A runner can certainly be your most potent weapon, but at some point in January you’re going to face a team that is going to be able to put 8 or 9 men in the box and shut down your ground attack, and it’ll wind up being up to your QB’s arm to save the day.

The second reason to beware of McFadden is character. And no, I don’t think McFadden is of low character, I just don’t think he’s of high character.

And as I said earlier, the Falcons are starting completely fresh, where they need to change the “culture” in the front office, city, fan base, and especially the locker room. We need high character guys.

I don’t think McFadden is this type of player. Not because of his off-field run-ins with the law, although those are somewhat concerning. I don’t think he has the maturity or shown the leadership ability to be a leader in the Falcons locker room early on. And that’s exactly what the Falcons need out of whomever they pick in the first round this April.

I think McFadden is going to make some team very happy. But the truth is that not all NFL teams are created equally. And the situation and environment he would find himself in Atlanta would not be conducive for his success.

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