Is Jones-Drew a potential starter or just McFadden insurance policy?


The Raiders brought back oft-injured running back Darren McFadden on a one-year contract. Checking into the prospect of signing veteran back Maurice Jones-Drew no doubt shows the team’s concern over McFadden’s ability to hold up as the lead back.
McFadden, 26, missed six games last season with hamstring and ankle injuries. Overall, he has missed 29 during his six-year Raiders career.
As a result, the Raiders signed former Jacksonville Jaguars running back Rashad Jennings last offseason. Now they are checking into Jones-Drew as a replacement for Jennings.
Signing Jennings turned out to be a prescient move as Jennings stepped in when McFadden got injured and outperformed McFadden at every turn.
Jennings averaged 4.5 yards rushing and caught 36 passes. He parlayed his success into a decent pay day with the New York Giants in free agency. That left the Raiders without a proven backup to McFadden.
Jones-Drew just might be the guy to fill the void. He visited the Raiders on Thursday and is expected to meet again with the team Friday, according to an NFL.com report.
McFadden averaged 3.3 yards rushing each of the past two seasons. Jones-Drew’s career-low was 4.2 until he slumped to 3.4 last season.
The Raiders are hopeful that McFadden can regain the form that enabled him to average better than 5 yards a carry in 2010 and ’11 now that the offensive line has been bolstered through free agency.
It seemed like a foregone conclusion that McFadden’s time with the Raiders ended after last season.
However, he said he re-signed with the Raiders because “I want to prove to the team that drafted me that I am a top running back in this league.”
It’s likely that McFadden will enter training camp as the projected starter. However, Jones-Drew and second-year player Latavius Murray would get an opportunity to challenge for the lead role.
Jones-Drew is accustomed to being the featured back, as was the case his final five seasons with the Jaguars. From 2009-11, he rushed for 4,321 yards and 28 touchdowns. He also caught 130 passes and appeared in all but two games during that span.
Jones-Drew also is far more durable and reliable than McFadden. He has missed only 14 games during his nine-year NFL career – 10 of those came in 2012 as a result of a foot injury he suffered against the Raiders at the Coliseum.
Jones-Drew, who turned 29 on March 23, has plenty of ties to California. He played his high school football at De La Salle High School and attended UCLA.


Steve Corkran

  • IAmAlwaysWrong

    FA RB L Blount meeting with Steelers today. omg, they should sign him. can you imagine that guy paired with Le’Veon Bell? i wouldn’t want to play against them, with Big Ben throwing to Antonio Brown, Lance Moore, Heath Miller and whatever WR they take in RD1..

  • Myopinion

    Thanks, hard to find.

  • tuckrulefool

    TB…and despite sport geeks at pff i say jenkins played well…porter too…

    biggest issue with RM is he does NOT reward the 1 yr guys who produce…the result? MASSIVE team turnover yr after yr….not good and makes no sense..

  • DJ Johnny

    If Latavious Murray does what the org is hoping he will then I don’t know how much playing time MJD would actually see behind he and DMAC. Well..DMAC will go down no doubt so never mind.

  • Jayhawk_Raider

    or those guys end up playing well and think they can leave and make more elsewhere, I’d prefer 1 year deal with an option, seems that would slow the turnover thing down a bit.

  • Jayhawk_Raider

    I would wonder how much playing time DMC will see behind Mojo and Murray.

  • IAmAlwaysWrong

    Jones-Drew has a decorated career and he was requesting $3 million/per. injury prone McFadden signed a 1-year peanuts deal and every other RB on the roster is unknown & unnproven. pretty sure MJD will start, unless he gets beat out in OTA’s, camp & preseason. Same could be said of Matt Schaub though

  • jumpnjiminy

    New post

  • TrevJo

    I said “right now the math doesn’t add up to drafting a RB”
    But I’m not ruling out the possibility that we’ll fill some of our defensive holes in free agency before the draft, opening things up for some different picks in the draft.

    I also said “Not saying we can’t pick offense but if we do it better be damn good value, and/or a legit franchise QB.”
    But I’m not ruling out the possibility of getting damn good value. For example Sankey or Mason in the 3rd would be too big of steals to pass up imo. We probably won’t get that lucky but you never know.

    You may be right about FA. I honestly don’t know that MJD is ever going to be himself again so one can certainly argue that he might not be one of the best. That said I’m not really sure who all is still out there right now so I am not going to argue about it. Saw a list the other day with quite a few names but I didn’t pay attention to what the names were at the time.

  • TrevJo

    “outside of the Graham-Davis” type = meh athlete for a receiver. Most of the highly-regarded TEs who don’t are similar in speed to Rivera are good blockers i.e. Gonazalez in his older years, Witten, guys like Dwayne Allen, Marcedes Lewis, Heath Miller, and Brandon Pettigrew. Rivera is not. Don’t forget Gronk who blows him away as an athlete, as a blocker, and in terms of receiving skill.

    Gates may not be a lot taller than Rivera but he does have him by an inch and 10 pounds and was quite a bit faster than Rivera in his day.

    There are plenty of other athletic tight ends that you are not thinking about, maybe the guys aren’t considered among the best TEs but they are significantly better athletes than Rivera: Cook, Olsen, Finley, even Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham.

    I’m not going to go on all day naming TEs but for pure receiving ability (including athleticism and skill) I wouldn’t put him among the top 20 TEs. And that’s giving him more credit for his skill than his athleticism. Overall factoring in blocking I wouldn’t put him among the top 35 TEs probably.

  • Franklin

    Here is the deal fellas. The free agents corners and D line are going to be signing soon. There is no way that they want to wait until after the NFL Draft. They need to sign in the next two weeks while the raiders and the other teams still have disposable cap. I can see the raiders signing 1 or 2 CB’s and D line in the next few weeks

  • MapleLaugher

    The important thing to remember is that DMC is by far the most talented back still. He starts until he gets hurt (insert joke here), Jennings was not/is not a more talented back he just stayed healthy last year. I think we run up and down people all year long with the Line and MJD additions though. We will need to as I can’t see Schaub being effective in a pass happy offence, seems he’s benefited from Foster being such a threat in the past.

  • DKnight007

    Great sleeper pickup by McK to sign MJD. No need to draft a RB now. MJD should start over DMC….easily and DMC is a better a change of pace
    or as a split out slot receiver also. Keeping both MJD and DMC on the
    field at the same time will keep teams guessing and that is something Olson needs to take advantage of. MJD, DMC and Reese on the field at same time? Wow

  • DKnight007

    Need to sign a slot or nickel CB. Should have kept Jenkins.