A Need for Speed: Raider Football

Recently deceased Raider owner Al Davis was long enamored with speed. He employed some of the fastest players ever to play in the NFL ranging from Cliff Branch to Bo Jackson to Raghib Ismail. If a player ran a blistering 40 at the NFL combine there was a good chance they would be an Oakland Raider.

During the last three drafts the Raiders have, to no one’s surprise, taken the player with the fastest 40 time. In the 2008 draft they selected the second and fifth fastest players.

Here’s a look at those players:

– DeMarcus Van Dyke – Van Dyke ran the fastest 40 at the combine this past season running a 4.28. He was selected in the third round by the Raiders in 2011. He has seen limited playing time so far and has only one tackle through the first four games.

– Jacoby Ford – Ford was an acclaimed sprinter for Clemson in college so it was no real shock when he also ran a combine best of 4.28 at the 2010 combine. The Raiders selected him in the fourth round of that draft and Ford showed glimpses of becoming a game-breaking threat. For his rookie season Ford had 25 receptions for 470 yards and two touchdowns. He had a couple huge games as a receiver but did most of his damage as a kick returner, taking three kicks back for touchdowns. Injuries have limited him thus far this season but Ford has much promise.

– Darius Heyward-Bay – Heyward-Bay, or DHB, became an instant Raider target when he ran a 4.30 forty at the 2009 combine, the fastest time that year. Still, he was a surprise selection at number seven, ahead of more acclaimed receivers Michael Crabtree and Jeremy Maclin. DHB has been a disappointment his first two seasons in which he compiled an underwhelming 35 receptions for 490 yards and two touchdowns in 26 games. He has looked improved in 2011 but will need to show he is a consistent player to win over the Raider Nation.

– Tyvon Branch – Branch had the second fastest time at the 2008 combine running a 4.31. The Raiders drafted him in the fourth round. A converted cornerback, he has been a starter at safety the past two seasons and has been a steady performer. For his career, Branch has compiled 207 tackles, five sacks, and three interceptions.

– Darren McFadden – The “slowest” of the five on this list, McFadden posted a 4.33 forty at the 2008 combine, fifth best that season. Slowed by injuries his first two seasons, McFadden exploded onto the scene last season, rushing for 1,157 yards and seven touchdowns while also chipping in with 47 receptions for 507 yards and three touchdowns. Finally living up to his lofty expectations, McFadden has established himself as one of the best running backs in the league.

People also view

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *