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February 13, 2008

Opinions differ on RB McFadden

With the NFL Scouting Combine scheduled to open next week in Indianapolis, there's an intriguing storyline developing about one of the draft's top prospects.

For weeks, even months, Arkansas' Darren McFadden has been rated the top running back in the draft. ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. currently lists McFadden as the No. 1 overall prospect, regardless of position, on his "big board."

But Mike Mayock, the NFL Network draft guru, has a contrary opinion. He released his list of top prospects today and doesn't even include McFadden in his top 20.

Mayock says the best running back available will be Rashard Mendenhall of Illinois, whom he rates No. 12 overall. Kiper has him 20th.

"Mendenhall translates better to the NFL game," said Mayock. "He's 225 pounds and has great feet and tremendous burst and acceleration for a player of his size. My biggest concern with McFadden is that although he also has great burst and acceleration, I don't think he has the lower body strength that you're looking for in a first-round NFL back."

It'll be interesting to see how all this develops.

And if either of these backs is available in the mid-first round, they'd be an intriguing option for the Panthers, who pick 13th. The best guess at this time is that Carolina uses the pick on either an offensive tackle or defensive lineman. But the free agency signing period hasn't even opened yet, so there's much yet to happen before April.

-- Charles Chandler

Posted by Observer Sports on February 13, 2008 at 08:01 PM | Permalink


Let get busy Panthers,remember Fox and hurney your job is on the line,and Mr.Richardson ready to spend I looking foward to this offseason.

Posted by: telling it like it is | Feb 13, 2008 8:44:21 PM

Both of those backs are intriguing, but I really think the Panthers need help on the O or D-line, or even a playmaking WR. Plus, I don't think McFadden's gonna drop to 13, and Mendenhall is a reach at 13. Fox and Hurney need to be REALLY REALLY smart with this draft and free agency.

Posted by: JPanther | Feb 13, 2008 9:19:18 PM

Another issue with McFadden is his repeated off-the-field problems. This makes two consecutive seasons that he's gotten himself into a bar fight, and he was injured last year in one. For my money, if we somehow resolve our OL and DL issues before the draft, I think I'd probably like to see Jonathan Stewart as much as any back in our system. There are, though, several good backs who could be had later, like Chris Johnson of ECU and Matt Forte of Tulane. Also, there are a few HB/FB hybrid guys who would look good in a Panthers jersey--given our need with Hoover aging--Owen Schmitt, Jacob Hester, and Brandon McAnderson among them.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Feb 13, 2008 9:22:56 PM

I understand where many of you are coming from and personally when it comes to RB's I really! like Stewart...of Oregon...He's big and strong and fast. I really don't think we should address the offensive line Situation in the draft. I really think you want experience there right now so I think it's time to poney up some serious $$ for Starks! of pittsburg...and locklear is another very solid OT that won't cost a lot of $. I'd also like to see panthers sign B. I think Signing Turner/Starks should be priority both those guys and hopefully B. Berian if not him then Bryant Johnson, E. Wilford, donte Stallworth, Devry Henderson..just to name a few and not all of those guys cost. The draft I think should be concentrated on S/DE.

The bottom line is this the panthers turn wheels in the draft because from 1st round bust (T. Davis) to 7th round ??? The panthers Draft Terribly! that's primary reason they are in situation they are in now where The panthers are not a very Talented football team......so..Free Agency must bring 3 new starters to this team and The draft as well...that makes around 6 new starters next year not including the Starting QB.

Posted by: Cheven | Feb 13, 2008 10:54:39 PM

You right Cheven, priorities O-line, and Locklear would be perfect...looks like we should have traded Wahle for Locklear at the Seahawks since Wahle looks to be headed there. Safety in the draft is a must. If we draft a running back let it be the sleeper Jonathan Stewart from Oregon or Felix Jones Ark. or Safety Kenny Phillips The U. Either of those guys for our first pick is a very successful draft to start. Better start in years. But we may cant past on a Aqib Talib CB from Kansas. WR draft? Limas Sweed TX or Early Doucet from LSU---would be a fan favorite and extra incentive for the fans to come and cheer right at the games. I still say go after a Jerry Porter of a D. Henderson, Roy Williams, well maybe not, dont kno but James Jones from Green Bay...Sleeper!!! A few extra fresh faces would help in the locker room and not only on the field next year on the route to Tampa, SB XLIII...

Posted by: Panther Fan D | Feb 14, 2008 1:37:31 AM

Count me in as one of those who think Jonathan Stewart would be the perfect RB for this team, if they can get the O-line shored up before the draft.

Fox said they needed playmakers, well how about a 5'11" 235lb RB who runs a 4.48 40, can catch out of the backfield,has good cutback ability, and some wiggle to boot. Stewart is also as strong as an ox...the guy benches over 400lbs and can power clean 407lbs. That's just rediculous...most linemen can't do that. I have a strong feeling that this kids stock will rise at the combine.

Posted by: Monstercat | Feb 14, 2008 1:45:14 AM

Uh..it appears the Panthers are on the verge of 'tagging' Jordan Gross, might this be the type of story that should appear on this site?

Posted by: mattdaddy | Feb 14, 2008 8:29:15 AM

There are three positions that have to be addressed in the offseason.
1. Offensive left tackle
2. Defensive End
3. Number 2 Wide Receiver

There are a couple of O-tackles and a bunch of receivers that will be free agencts this year but the DE will need to be drafted. Vernon Gholston (Ohio St) or Calais Campbell (Miami) would be great 1st round draft picks.

Posted by: Planner65 | Feb 14, 2008 9:20:20 AM

Free agency, address offensive needs....Draft, address defensive needs. Simple as that.

Youth on defense is needed. DE, S, CB, OLB, in whatever order the draft falls to us.

Posted by: k>roy | Feb 14, 2008 10:16:15 AM

Panthers sign SS chris harris to an extension, wonder why ESPN and Gaston Gazette picked up on this but not the Observer...


Posted by: This just in | Feb 14, 2008 10:48:46 AM

I meant Rock Hill Herald Online, but Gazette has a good article on franchise tagging Gross:


Posted by: This just in | Feb 14, 2008 10:50:45 AM

Matt, the Panthers have been "on the verge" of tagging Gross since the season ended. It's been mentioned and discussed several times on this site.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Feb 14, 2008 12:39:51 PM

Mayock's a contrarian, it makes for good TV. All you need to know about McFadden is that he's alot like Adrian Peterson. Quick to the hole, then gone. He'll just need to avoid kill shots, for in college he was apt to deliver punishment to defenders. He took a good beating that way, because he is not necessarily a power runner. But don't let this yahoo fool you. If DMac somehow falls to the Panthers, WOW!

Posted by: Razor Back | Feb 14, 2008 12:49:32 PM

The best option right now for the panthers at pick 13 would be to draft a Left Tackle, this class is loaded with good o-lineman and any one would be an up grade over Travelle Wharton who should just go back to guard since he got a new 6 year deal which he did not deserve.

Posted by: KJ | Feb 14, 2008 1:40:01 PM

Looking forward to seeing the numbers Wharton is getting? What ever the number, it is too much!

Posted by: Mike Hampton | Feb 14, 2008 1:45:48 PM

Why would you not keep a guy who has the ability to START at guard or tackle? No he's not great and he may never even sniff a Pro Bowl but he's a solid player who deserved to be resigned.

Posted by: mattdaddy | Feb 14, 2008 2:12:50 PM

Marty Hurney and John Fox are stubborn

Posted by: George W. Bush | Feb 14, 2008 2:14:35 PM

I like the signing!

Posted by: John Abraham | Feb 14, 2008 2:20:28 PM

If we end up getting a new HB we need a power back like Davis was before his injury. As much as we like running up the middle..its pretty much an obvious choice.

Posted by: Dustin | Feb 14, 2008 3:13:18 PM

As long as we signed Wharton to play )and be paid) at guard, this is a potentially great deal. Between he, Harris, and D. Lewis, we've done a good job locking up some of our younger contributors.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Feb 14, 2008 3:57:05 PM


Wahle and Lewis are not that much different in age. Why is Lewis considered a "younger contributor" and Wahle is past his prime.

Posted by: Joe Wilson | Feb 14, 2008 4:15:29 PM

Well, to start with, Wahle is older. Not by much, yes, but older. Further, Wahle was in the NFL three seasons earlier than Lewis, and has played 42 more games (including 94!!! more starts.) A lot more mileage, and additionally, we were able to dictate the terms of Lewis' deal since he was an FA. Wahle had to come back at the price his contract was signed for, which did not match his production. Finally, Wahle has dealt with a fairly significant shoulder injury in the last two years which has sapped much of his strength, whereas Lewis has only missed one game in the last four years.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Feb 14, 2008 5:33:00 PM

I agree we definely have to move Wharton to LG and get a LT in free agency or draft he's okay as a LT but better fit and more fluid as a LG. also how much money do we have now? By these contracts I actually think we open upmore cap room and can get even more aggresive in Free Agency. I really hope that w don't bring back Brad Hoover no offense but I was looking foward to us drafting a guy like Hester FB from LSU he's way more versitle then Hoover I'm glad the Panthers are being active but just make sure your using this money on the right players mostly the key players.

Posted by: telling it like it is | Feb 14, 2008 6:08:43 PM

Boy if we can come out this draft with a running back prospect like Marshawn Lynch boy look out....

Posted by: Panther Fan D | Feb 14, 2008 10:31:15 PM

Numbers are in:
Panthers OL Travelle Wharton's six-year contract is for $36 million. The deal includes $12 million guaranteed and $19 million in the first three years.

Most tackles have been getting something like $49 mil/7 yrs. This is cheap enough to be reasonable if he's moved to guard, and paid enough to respect his ability to play tackle at an adequate level. We really weren't going to get him much cheaper than that, and I don't know who else we could have gotten with his skills and versatility who'd have come for even the same price.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Feb 14, 2008 11:43:12 PM

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