We all know Christian McCaffrey. He’s been one of the most polarizing college players for the past couple seasons with his versatility and ability to produce as a runner, receiver and return man. You’re sure to remember his Heisman worthy 2015 campaign where he broke the NCAA’s single-season all purpose yardage record. While he didn’t quite match that production in 2016, he remains a hot commodity with a high draft profile. McCaffrey will find a role in the NFL and should hear his name called on Thursday in late April.
Name: Christian McCaffrey
Draft Grade: 1st Round
Positives: Has the height you look for with a well-proportioned body. A strong frame that is kept in exceptional condition. Meat on his hips, backside, calves and has the ankles to hold it all up. Body has progressed year-to-year and is on schedule with his age. Good speed in the open field with the ability to tear huge chunks and take it to the house. Robotic, almost beautiful running stride. A square, controlled runner with good contact balance. Very good lower-body flexibility with the ability to drop his hips and get low to the ground. Turns and twists his lower body with ease and has excellent ankle flexion. Can stop his momentum on a dime and quickly get back to full speed. Very good ability to change direction and fool defenders in the open field. Has a very efficient spin-move. Play strength has improved and runs hard through the middle. Not afraid of contact and gains many yards after contact.
Churns his legs through defenders and regularly needs gang-tackles to bring him down. Excellent reactionary quickness. Appears to see the field in slow-motion. See’s holes and anticipates extraordinarily well. Makes decisions quickly and doesn’t waste much movement. Very good pass-catcher and a great asset in the passing game. Shows consistent hands. An above-average route-runner for his position. A willing blocker downfield. Consistent and attentive in pass-protection and does everything he can for his quarterback. Exception football character. Has a rare work ethic and mentality. Works like a professional. Loves the game and sees not giving everything as failing God. Coaches rave about him. Quick learner. About as clean off the field as they come. Reputation in the weight-room is otherworldly. Will only be 20 years old on the day of the draft.
Negatives: Lacks arm length. Not naturally powerful running inside. Doesn’t pop out of his breaks with elite explosion. Lacks elite open-field speed.
Outlook: Christian McCaffrey is arguably the most unique player in this draft not only for what he is on the field but for what he is off the field. McCaffrey leaves college with one of the most impressive resumes in the history of the game and comes into the NFL as one of its youngest players. McCaffrey’s greatest strength on the field is his ability to process what he sees and react which he does as well any player at his position that I’ve watched. His on-field talents coupled with his exceptional football and personal character should carry him to new heights in the NFL. His value is in the first round.