In some prospects, you automatically know that they are special.
Some are able to run fast, jump high, and catch everything thrown to them. In the case of running back Christian McCaffrey, what he does with the ball in his hands can leave you astonished. The upcoming NFL Draft has a number of talented running backs that can be very essential to offenses. McCaffrey’s skill set can definitely uphold to that expectation.
His 2015 campaign at Stanford went undetected until late in the season when he became a Heisman finalist. The trophy went to former Alabama running back Derrick Henry but a legitimate case could have been made for McCaffrey being the best player in college football that season. It’s easy to see why McCaffrey excites offensive coordinator. Let’s dissect his skill set and what he can offer to an NFL offense.
Weight: 200 lbs
Position: Running Back
Games Watched: 2015 vs. Notre Dame, 2015 vs. USC, 2015 vs. Iowa, 2016 vs. Oregon, 2016 vs. Rice, 2016 vs. UCLA, 2016 vs. Cal
- 2015 Consensus All-American, 2015 AP Player of the Year, 2015 First team All-Pac-12, 2015 Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year, 2016 First team All-Pac-12, 2016 Academic All-American of the Year
- 2015 season: 2,019 rushing yards, eight TDs, 645 receiving yards, five TDs, 1,070 kick return yards, TD; 2016 season: 1,603 rushing yards, 13 TDs, 310 receiving yards, three TDs
- Patient runner, allows his blocks to be set up
- Excellent vision, anticipates creases and lanes solidly
- Excellent cutback ability, able to break away from defenders that have solid angles of tackling
- Explosive in the open field, second-gear speed
- Stellar instincts as a runner
- Experienced return ability
- Good route runner, able to sink hips on his breaks
- Solid run-after-the-catch ability
- Threat to score at any given moment, consistent big play ability; 15 career runs of 20 yards or more
- Heavy workload the past two seasons raises questions of usage at the NFL level (672 total offensive touches)
- Lack of ideal size
- Lacks power to consistently break tackles at the NFL level
- Faces inability to be effective between the tackles in the run game due to lack of noticeable power
Conclusion: In other seasons, McCaffrey would be the best running back in the NFL Draft. However, with prospects such as Leonard Fournette and Dalvin Cook in the same class, McCaffrey will have to settle as third best.
However, there is no doubt that with his overall talent, McCaffrey can very well possibly be a first round selection. An electric playmaker, Christian McCaffrey can be a lethal weapon for an offense. Can he be lead-back material in the NFL? I’m not so quite certain he will. Although he has a rock solid 200 lb frame, if McCaffrey fails to gain considerable bulk, his playing days may be limited at the NFL level. Instead of totaling 250-280 total carries in a season, McCaffrey may be at his best with 200-225 total touches on the season, combining rushes and catches. His best ability as a prospect is his sharp vision and patience as a runner. Installed within the right offense, McCaffrey has the skills to be a productive, versatile weapon on an offense.