Why Not McFadden?

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The Kansas City Chiefs are about to make one of the kids participating in this week's NFL combine financially secure despite the fact he has not stepped foot on an NFL field. With the fifth overall pick in April's Draft, the Chiefs have numerous options. Surely they'll take an offensive or defensive lineman, but I say the opportunity to pick Arkansas running back Darren McFadden can't be ignored.

Forget the blazing 40-yard dash times McFadden turned in at the combine this week. Ignore the fact someone in his family drove a brand new SUV prior to the Razorbacks' Cotton Bowl against Missouri. Forget the fact the Chiefs just gave Larry Johnson all that coin a year ago.

Forget the fact that some have been critical of McFadden's attitude recently. What do you expect from a man barely out of his teens who's about to grab an absurd amount of money away from an NFL billionaire? You can't help but laugh at the irony of that.

Chiefs President Carl Peterson spoke about the possibility of selecting McFadden with KC's fifth overall selection the other day. As expected, he didn't rule out chance that the Chiefs might take the young running back – like any good general manager, he has to consider every angle.

But inside the Chiefs' organization, others have expressed interest in McFadden. It's not just Carl. Before the Senior Bowl, I had a conversation with a member of KC's coaching staff. We started talking about the NFL draft.

I was asked for my opinion on who the Chiefs should draft, and responded with the choice of Michigan left tackle Jake Long, an obvious pick among most Chiefs fans. Then I asked the coach who he would select, and he didn't hesitate – Darren McFadden.

Shocking? Perhaps, but after pondering the potential of Run DMC in Kansas City for a second, I convinced myself it was a good idea

How many opportunities does an NFL franchise have to draft a player with more upside than McFadden? It doesn't happen often.

McFadden pretty much did it all at the college level. He ran for thousands of yards and scored touchdowns on the ground and through the air. He also threw the ball, and can return kicks and punts to boot.

In baseball they refer to the elite athletes as five-tool players - those who can hit for average, drive in runs, steal bases, get on base and can field like Willie Mays. McFadden, in NFL terms, is all that and more.

There are, of course, reasons to shy away from picking McFadden. If the Chiefs spent their highest draft choice in over a decade on a running back – a position at which the team appears to be set – it could upset the fan base that lately, seems to be flocking towards buying Royals season tickets instead of renewing Chiefs season tickets.

But when was the last time a single player could lift the Arrowhead crowd to meteoric heights?

Dante Hall did it, essentially, for one season. Tamarick Vanover did it for a few games and for those who remember the early Chiefs, Noland Smith had his moments in the sun. Imagine what a player like McFadden could do to the raucous and hungry crowds at Arrowhead.

Imagine Run DMC taking the opening kickoff of the regular season all the way back for a touchdown. In the same game midway through the third quarter, he could take a short, third-down swing pass from quarterback Brodie Croyle and jet 60 or 70 yards for another score.

Late in the fourth quarter, with the Chiefs needing to seal a victory, McFadden could take a pitch from Croyle, fake the run and and toss a perfect strike to tight end Tony Gonzalez for a touchdown.

Big dreams? Perhaps. But McFadden is capable of all of the above.

In this time of hope known as March, free agents wrestle multi-millions from owners who are attempting to find ways to compete with the New England Patriots. As he reshapes his roster, Herm Edwards' endgame is just that - to be as good or better than the Patriots.

But it's also the goal of KC's organization to keep sellouts raining down on Arrowhead Stadium.

And that's why McFadden makes sense for the Chiefs. He can probably make both of those things happen a little quicker.

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