The Oakland Raiders have always been known for their aerial attack, but they also have a long history of great running backs with guys like Napolean Kaufman, Marcus Allen and Bo Jackson all having worn the Silver and Black. But just like with any position in the NFL, the Raiders have also had their mis-steps with taking running backs in the NFL Draft.
When deciding the worst draft pick at the running back position, there was not a lot of competition to be perfectly honest. Darren McFadden is not a guy who struggled to find success on the field, he just struggled to find the field. When healthy, McFadden showed that he has the skill set to be a dominant running back in the NFL. The problem is, he will likely never be a dominant running back in the NFL because he gets injured so often.
You need to go back all of the way to 1964 to find a running back taken by the Raiders in the first round who did not work out. The Raiders have only taken four running backs in the first round of the draft, those guys are Darren McFadden, Napolean Kaufman, Marcus Allen and Tony Lorick. Clearly Kaufman and Allen are immediately removed from this conversation leaving you with McFadden and Lorick.
Lorick did far less for the Raiders than McFadden ever did. He taken with the seventh pick of the first round of the 1964 AFL draft but never played for the Raiders. This was at a time when the AFL and NFL were in heavy competition and Lorick was also taken in the second round of that year’s NFL draft by the Baltimore Colts. He chose to play in the NFL, where he did not have a very impressive career.
But while Lorick was a poor draft pick, he did not really hurt the franchise. The Raiders won an AFL Championship three years later in 1967 and found themselves in the playoffs for 10 of the next 11 years. McFadden, on the other hand, was supposed to turn the franchise around. He was taken in 2008, right as the Raiders were in the middle of what has become an epic stretch of ineptitude.
While Lorick did not work out, the Raiders knew there was a chance he would choose the NFL, and they also took a total of five running backs in that draft. McFadden was taken with the expectation that he would help fix the struggling franchise. Instead, he has tied up a large portion of its cap space while frustrating fans and coaches with constant injuries and unfulfilled potential.