By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, April 11th, 2008 at 3:49 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Since it seems in this forum at least that Darren McFadden is the biggest topic of conversation regarding the Raiders and the No. 4 overall pick in the draft on April 26, here is a transcript of McFadden’s media session at the NFL scouting combine?
Q: Are you the best player in the draft?
McFadden: I feel like I am the best player in the draft. I can do a lot of different things. I feel like I’m a very versatile player. I can go out there and line up at receiver, I can line up in the backfield and block, line up back there and run, I can throw a pass if you need me to. But like if I had to, I could play defense.
Q: Why did you decide to enter the draft early?
McFadden: I feel like it was kind of tough on me, but with my coaches leaving, it made it easier for me. But I felt like it was time, too.
Q: What kind of questions do you expect from NFL teams?
McFadden: I know I’m going to hear a lot of different questions. I’m going to hear things from the reason why I get up early, or the different incidents I’ve had outside of nightclubs, just different questions.
Q: How will you answer the nightclub questions?
McFadden: Just answer them and tell them what happened. I know I put myself in a bad situation I shouldn’t have been in, and I take full responsibility for it.
Q: Was the report out of proportion to what actually happened?
McFadden: I guess they had people telling them something, different things were happening, and I guess people’s words got misconstrued.
Q: Will all the off-the-field issues affect your draft stock?
McFadden: That’s something I haven’t been worried about at all.
Q: Was football an escape for you growing up in a tough environment?
McFadden: A lot of bad things were laid out in front of me, and at any point in time in life I could have took the wrong road. But I felt like I always stayed on the right road and did the positive things.
Q: How do you compare to Adrian Peterson?
McFadden: I admire Adrian Peterson. He’s a great running back and I feel like if I go in do all the work that I should do and put in the right work necessary, I could have the type of season he did.
Q: Is it important to be the first back drafted?
McFadden: Whether I am or if I’m not, I’m just going to go wherever I go and try and play my best.
Q: Is it important to be the first player drafted?
McFadden: Like I said, whether I am or I’m not, I’m just going to go play my best wherever I go.
Q: Are you eager to see what Felix Jones, your Arkansas teammate, can do as a feature back?
McFadden: I feel like I know what Felix can do. If he was the feature back at Arkansas, I feel like he’d have been the same. I feel like he could have started anywhere in the country if he wasn’t playing behind me.
Q: What do you need to improve on?
McFadden: I’ve just got to get adapted to the game speed and things like that, get in there and learn the different plays, things like that.
Q: How are your receiving skills?
McFadden: I feel like I have great hands because I played a lot of different positions growing up. I’ve caught a lot of balls through high school and things, so I feel like I have great hands.
Q: Do you think a team will utilize the “Wildcat formation” in the NFL?
McFadden: I don’t know if it could, but if it did, it’d be a great thing.
Note: In the “Wildcat” formation at Arkansas, McFadden took snaps from center as a quarterback and could either run or pass.
Q: Would you like to play in Dallas?
McFadden: For me, it doesn’t matter. I’m just going to go and do my best.
Q: Have you thought about playing with JaMarcus Russell?
McFadden: No sir, I haven’t. I haven’t thought anything about it.
Q: What do you like about Lining up at quarterback?
McFadden: It’s something I love to do, line up behind the center and take those direct snaps. Growing up, I played quarterback a lot, and it’s just something I love to do, be back there and be able to call the plays.
Q: Is there room for playing some QB at the next level?
McFadden: Well, I don’t know if there’d be any room for it in the NFL, but if a coach wanted me to do it, I’m going to do it.
Q: LaDainian Tomlinson has completed some passes for San Diego . . .
McFadden: He’s a great player, going back there and throwing touchdown passes like he’s a quarterback. It’s just a great thing to see a running back do that.
Q: Who is the second best RB in the draft?
McFadden: Well, everybody probably would have a different opinion, but mine would be Felix Jones.
Q: How would you explain your assets to a general manager?
McFadden: I feel like I’m a tough guy. You could have me in on first down or you could have me in on fourth-and-1. I can get long yards for you or I can get short yards for you.
Q: Thought about taking your place among legendary SEC backs?
McFadden: For me, it’s something I haven’t really thought about
Q: Your favorite running back?
McFadden: Growing up, I was a Terrell Davis guy. I used to watch Terrell Davis run.
Q: Why Terrell Davis?
McFadden: I don’t know, just Terrell Davis, Denver Broncos, John Elway, I just liked ‘em.
Q: Is there a lot of anxiety here at the combine?
McFadden: It’s very nerve-wracking. It’s something you go through for the first time, so it’s going to be nerve-wracking to you, but it’s something you have to deal with.
Q: Have you been asked a lot about Adrian Peterson, considering his success as a rookie?
McFadden: A lot of people try to compare me to Adrian Peterson and say we have similar running styles. He went in as a rookie and did great things, and that’s something I feel like I’m going to try in and do as a rookie also. It’s going to be tough, but I feel like I’m a hard worker and I feel like I’m going to do my best.
Q: Did you run the spread offense in college and would it suit you in the NFL?
McFadden: For me, I feel like I can adjust to any type of offense there is. I’m just a natural ballplayer, so whatever offense I’m put in, I feel like I’m going to be able to perform in it.