The case for Dallas starting Randle over McFadden

We haven't yet seen Joseph Randle in a full-time role, but when he's seen the field he's been more effective than Darren McFadden.

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/Gus Ruelas)

(AP Photo/Gus Ruelas)

The case for Dallas starting Randle over McFadden

Darren McFadden has been taking snaps at running back with the Cowboys’ first-team offense this week. But is he a better option than incumbent Joseph Randle?

Not according to our numbers. Granted, Randle played just 98 snaps in 2014, but he was very effective in that limited role. He managed a +3.9 overall grade and a +2.4 rushing grade. McFadden, while playing with the Raiders, finished with a -8.3 overall grade and with a -6.1 rushing mark.

McFadden was rumored to be banged up, but the grading falls right in line with every season of his entire career. His highest rushing grade for a season was +1.9, and that still falls short of the mark Randle set last season.

Again, Randle was playing a part-time role. It’s a different story to translate that to a larger workload. But his per-snap stats compare very favorably to McFadden’s. Randle forced 10 missed tackles on his 51 total touches. McFadden forced just 17 missed tackles on 190 total touches. Randle’s breakaway percentage was 46.5 percent, compared to just 13.6 percent for McFadden. And he even fared better as a pass-blocker than McFadden, not allowing a single pressure on the QB.

Again, the sample size prevents us from making a head-on comparison. But what Randle has provided on a per-play basis offers far more upside than what McFadden has accomplished in a lead role.

  • Moralltach

    I’m no stats expert, but I crunched some numbers myself and found that McFadden has a 0% chance of starting all 16 games.

    • Malachi

      if he some how did, behind that line, and with a real passing game for once… oh my. the guy is a freak athletically. but yea, he probably trains with miles austin in the offseson, lol #hamstrung

    • F-lexThat

      Wow. That’s some limb you crawled out on.

  • Zach

    The one knock I have on PFF is that their evaluations can’t take into account things like change in scenery, increased motivation, and general behind the scene/internal factors. Their numbers are solely what did the guy do on the field last year, and they are unquestionably the best at doing that. While no one really can know for sure besides that player himself, but I think with a guy like McFadden you can’t really predict his future production based on past production because of where he played. Now he certainly has an injury history which can’t be ignored, and while I do feel like Randle will be the starter it wouldn’t shock me if McFadden had a breakout performance.

    • Tim Edell

      Did you just say their evaluations don’t take into account increased motivation and internal factors??? Well no …. !!! Its based strictly on their performance as it should be.

      • F-lexThat

        Based on past performance. I understand what he’s talking about. I think any knowledgeable fan would have to agree that McFadden should perform better behind the Dallas OL than the Oakland OL. AND he should be better motivated to do so. I can only imagine what it’s like going out there every year behind that Oakland OL and trying to get excited about it.

        It likely contributed to his injury history, in that he didn’t see any point trying to fight through anything since it wasn’t like his team mates cared.

      • redeemed626

        Then why does every financial syllabus filed on behalf of Fortune 500 companies contain the disclaimer that “past performance is no guarantee of future results?”

        Everybody knows that McFadden’s problems have been situational and injury oriented. Maybe those injury problems will continue. Maybe they won’t.

        But I wish PFF would do an honest evaluation of the extended periods during which McFadden has been healthy, as few and far between as those periods might have been.

        Besides, nobody thinks McFadden will be the primary rusher to start the season. The job is Randle’s to lose, and like most teams with an effective rushing attack, Randle will likely benefit from a healthy, productive McFadden.

        On the other hand,those who have seen what a healthy McFadden can do would tell you that having him on your tail for a starting spot involves a lot more pressure than having a backup rookie form East Carolina on your tail.