Name: Christian McCaffrey
Position: Running Back
Pro Team: Carolina Panthers
College Team: Stanford Cardinal
Draft Status: Round One, Pick No. 8 Overall
- Height: 5’11.”
- Weight: 202 Pounds
- Arm Length: 30’’
- Bench Press: 10 Reps
- 40-Yard-Dash: 4.48
- 20-Yard-Shuttle: 4.22
- 3-Cone: 6.57
- Vertical: 37.5.”
- Broad Jump: 121.0’’
[am4show have=’g1;’ guest_error=’sub_message’ user_error=’sub_message’ ]
Defenses are going to need more than a telephone booth to contain Christian McCaffrey. He runs with balance, his choppy feet keep him controlled, and he can dip his hips when making sharp cuts and keep his feet churning. With a great change of direction skills and solid vision, McCaffrey also has the feel to know when holes open up. For someone his size, he doesn’t fear to go through the inside gaps. He will routinely dart in and out, and when in the open and can string moves together to make players miss on any level of the playing field. He shifts gears like a professional race car driver, and whether it’s to speed up or slow down, McCaffrey does it effortlessly.
The Panthers will be able to use him with any combination or offensive purpose. He is the best hands-catcher for a running back in the draft, and doesn’t fumble the ball. Athletes are commonplace in his family, and most notably his father played wide receiver for the Denver Broncos (Ed McCaffrey).
Many are going to point to his size. It is true that it isn’t ideal, and being small leads to injuries for most players his size. I’m not worried too much about that, as he has put in over 745 touches in the last two seasons. Unfortunately, it does prove he has a strong body; meaning he has some wear on those tires.
McCaffrey isn’t the type of back that will just truck over defenders to get the extra yards. If he is under containment, he will have a difficult time breaking tackles. He needs to get better when it comes to pass blocking. According to PFF, he surrendered one sack, one hit, and two hurries in 2016.
It was a struggle for the Panthers to do anything offensively, on top of that the return game sputtered as well. They finished 15th overall in scoring (23.1 ppg) and were in need of an explosive running back. They were also looking to get more active in the passing game to take the pressure off Cam Newton. McCaffrey brings a large improvement in all three phases of the game. In return, look for Newton to have a better quarterback rating as he completed just 52.9 percent of his passes (28th in the NFL).
Also, Jonathan Stewart is aging quickly. He is now 30-years old, so his time left may be short. Usually, 32-years is the drop-off point. Opportunities are everywhere for McCaffrey; he will just need to capitalize on them and be consistent.
Carolina is Cam Newton’s team, and McCaffrey is not positioned to be a wide receiver. The offense will continue to run through Newton, and his ability to run will limit the opportunities for McCaffrey to get necessary touches. Newton’s accuracy is also a threat. McCaffrey can be open all day, but it will be up to the strong-arm quarterback to deliver a catchable ball that hadn’t sailed or grounded.
Even though talent evaluators have McCaffrey higher, Curtis Samuel can be identical to McCaffrey in a similar role. Both are electrifying players, and both can play wide receiver or run the ball. It seems that both will be counted on to do similar objectives which may eliminate one from having a consistent season. Maybe a “hot-hand” approach that coaches like to employ.
Jonathan Stewart is aging, but he hasn’t endured the rugged life of the NFL to it’s fullest. He was working in tandem with DeAngelo Williams for most of his career when he wasn’t hurt, so the wear and tear on his body is not what it should be. He has only 1,501 carries in eight seasons, or 187.6 per year average. The most rushing attempts he has had on a season is 242 in 2015. Stewart is also the bigger back, which may remove McCaffrey away from goal line work, something he has been successful with at Stanford.
The opportunities are everywhere for McCaffrey, but so are the threats.
McCaffrey is pro-ready, so expect him to be active right away. The only thing I can see holding him back is being a rookie and adjusting to the NFL level. That point is just a minor restriction if at all, the second would be how the Panthers use him in their offensive schematic. However, he will have fantasy relevance right away. In his first season, he should make an excellent flex option with the upside of being a regular starter on your fantasy team.
Christian McCaffrey has an extreme amount of potential. A high-level producer for PPR owners for years to come. It’s hard to imagine him not being a regular part of your fantasy lineup for the next ten to eleven seasons. I believe Mike Mayock said it best when he said, “I love his patience. He’s not Le’Veon Bell, but his patience is like that… He’s a four-down player. I love LeSean McCoy, and this guy’s every bit as athletic.”
Christian McCaffrey is a triple-threat running back. He can run, catch, and play on special teams. He may not have the biggest size but has great hands and instincts. He isn’t timid about going through the middle but can be brought down much easier than a bigger back.
The first back I see in similarity is Marshall Faulk. The two backs have a short-but-stocky similarity and like Faulk, McCaffrey can play wide receiver as well as running back or anywhere on the field. He also makes magic happen when the ball is in his hands. They have the shiftiness not to get caught and speed to break the long distance home run. They both use that choppy feet motion to change direction and get out of harm’s way. Both can catch the ball over their shoulder with little issues and can make the wheel route happen.
Projected Range for Rookie Drafts
Christian McCaffrey is going at the 30 spot for ADP data as of May 2017. He was selected ahead of LeSean McCoy, Joe Mixon, Stefon Diggs, Jay Ajayi, and Dalvin Cook. Players going ahead of him include Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams, Doug Baldwin, and Alshon Jeffery. Among running backs, Jordan Howard went at 24, Leonard Fournette 21, Todd Gurley 18, and Melvin Gordon at 17. He is the ninth running back taken in drafts. I think it’s too far of a drop from Fournette to McCaffrey, and I actually have McCaffrey over Fournette, but it’s a draft and you just never know. Plus, I heavily favor the Stanford running back in PPR leagues.
In our DLF Dynasty Rookie Rankings, he is currently being selected third right behind Leonard Fournette and Corey Davis. Our Dynasty RB Rankings currently have Leonard Fournette being selected as the first rookie RB, followed by Joe Mixon and then McCaffrey.