Willis McGahee: Where He Fits Best

Career still has some mileage left in it

With the release of veteran RB Willis McGahee, the Denver Broncos have solidified rookie Montee Ball's position as the primary RB for them in 2013. While normally head coach John Fox has been hesitant to start rookies right away, he clearly has no other option and besides, Ball is plenty ready to step in and be the power RB complement to what promises to be one of the best passing attacks in the league. Don't be surprised if Ball flirts with 1,200 rushing yards and double digit TD's this season.


But where does this leave McGahee? Despite the fact he'll turn 32 years old in October he's easily the best of the remaining RB available in free agency. McGahee has been better than expected the last 2 seasons in Denver. After rushing for 1,199 yards and 4 TD's in 15 games in 2011, McGahee was on pace to duplicate the rushing yards and better the TD's before suffering a season ending knee injury and broken leg in week 11. He was even proving to be capable catching the ball putting his second best receiving yards total (221) of his career despite only playing in 10 games. As long as he is fully healed up McGahee shouldn't find it difficult to find work. There are certainly some teams that could use him.


St. Louis Rams: The Rams lack a proven power style RB. Rookie Zac Stacy is expected to fill that role but he is a rookie and whether he really turns out to be as good as I think he will is unknown. Isaiah Pead and Daryl Richardson are not big RB's who are likely to pound the ball between the tackles much.


San Diego Chargers: Would make a nice insurance policy for starter Ryan Mathews as Mathews has been unable to stay healthy and on the field despite his talent. His backups, Danny Woodhead and Ronnie Brown, are role players at best and not suited for taking over more of a featured position.


Oakland Raiders: Darren McFadden's talent is almost as legendary as his inability to make it thru a regular season without missing games because of injury. Behind McFadden are rookie Latavius Murray (who has generated a lot of hype for a 6th round pick) and Jacksonville cast-off Rashard Jennings. McGahee would easily become the top backup here.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers: While Doug Martin was both better than advertised and durable (played all 16 games) as a rookie last year, the depth behind him is lacking. Former Bengals role player Brian Leonard is the top backup with Michael Smith and rookie Mike James behind him. Leonard is a plodder with little wiggle or speed. Smith is a speed guy but appears to have fallen out of favor despite it. James is a lot like Leonard, only younger.


Dallas Cowboys: Much like Darren McFadden in Oakland, Cowboys' lead RB Demarco Murray is an immense talent that has yet to make it thru a regular season without missing games with injury. Rookie Joseph Randle was drafted to be his backup, but he is unproven and has missed all of the off-season programs because of a hand injury. Behind him are only Lance Dunbar and Phillip Tanner, both of whom were very disappointing when given chances in 2012. Of all the places McGahee could land, I can see him in a Cowboys uniform easiest.


And of course, there's always the chance that McGahee will just wait until training camp injuries start to happen and a team can offer him more of a featured role. But approaching age 32, McGahee should be happy to finish out the final years of his career as a top backup and power complement.