Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
(percentile rank among all RBs at the Combine since 1999, courtesy of mockdraftable.com):
40-yard dash: 4.48 (77th)
Vertical: 37.5 inches
Broad: 121 inches (73rd)
3-cone: 6.57 (97th)
20-yard shuttle: 4.22 (51st)
Remember former WR Ed McCaffrey, who spent most of his impactful career with Denver?
His kid could be even better.
A decorated high school athlete in football and track, Christian followed his father’s footsteps by committing to Stanford. After getting his feet wet as a freshman, he proceeded to enjoy the greatest 2-year run we’ve ever seen in college football.
At least that’s what the stats say.
McCaffrey recorded 6,191 all-purpose yards from 2015-2016, marking the most over any 2-year span in FBS history.
2015 was his best campaign. A Heisman finalist, McCaffrey ranked 2nd in the nation in carries and yards. No other FBS player led his team in both rushing and receiving. McCaffrey got there on the strength of 11 games over 100 rushing yards — 3 over 100 receiving yards.
2016 wasn’t as successful, but he actually improved his YPC from 6.0 to 6.3. This despite suffering a hip injury on October 8 and missing the following week (vs. Notre Dame). Of course, he also sat out Stanford’s bowl game.
But that shouldn't cover up what was really another remarkable season. Per ESPN Stats and Info, his yards-after-contact mark jumped from 1.7 (2015) to 2.3. And he played in an offense that lost OG Josh Garnett and OT Kyle Murphy — plus TE Austin Hooper and QB Kevin Hogan — to the pros.
Considered a high character athlete, McCaffrey’s stock has risen thus far in the pre-draft process. Consider the words of Oakland HC Jack Del Rio, whose son, Luke, played with McCaffrey in high school.
“I heard the people question whether he’d be able to go from the high school level to the college level, and now the questions will come out, ‘Can he go from the college game to the pro game?’” Del Rio said at the Combine. “And I think you’re going to see the same thing. This guy is a great football player, and I think he will have an impact in this league.”
A dynamic rusher, receiver and returner, where can we expect McCaffrey to really excel in the NFL?
Courtesy of DraftBreakdown.com
I could flood this space with clip after clip of eye-catching runs and receptions. This guy has serious wiggle in the open space, and he routinely made LBs and DBs look silly in those situations.
McCaffrey also displayed the necessary patience as a runner, particularly as a junior. In the counter play below, he waits for a hole to develop before bursting through, breaking a tackle and picking up extra yards.
What really gets me excited, though, is McCaffrey's receiving ability. Think PPR goldmine when you hear his name. He has the route running ability you'd expect from the son of a former NFL WR. His hands are solid, but he could clean up some issues with drops.
Stanford used McCaffrey's skills by lining him up out wide, in the slot and featuring him out of the backfield. (He even took a sizable number of direct snaps.)
The pass below falls incomplete, but it's certainly not on McCaffrey.
McCaffrey executes a sharp out before eluding an incoming tackler. Pro Football Focus charted him with 1 missed tackle forced for every 4.5 touches last season.Dalvin Cook's feet really stand out on tape. McCaffrey flashes some fancy dance moves, too, and it's reason to be excited about his pass game involvement in the pros. The jukes above are simply filthy.
McCaffrey again shows off his route running. But we see another wrinkle to his game here -- breakaway speed. Note that he clocked a very solid 4.48 forty-time at the Combine.Just another display of McCaffrey's open field, tackle-shedding ability. Given his pass game dominance, it's no wonder so many draft gurus are comparing him to past dual-threats. Perhaps most interestingly, NFL.com's Lance Zierlein presents a Tiki Barber comp. The 10-year pro profiles similarly to McCaffrey size-wise, and he averaged nearly 59 catches per season.
At the Combine, NFL Network’s Mike Mayock called McCaffrey a “chess piece,” adding that he’s “bigger and stronger than people think he is.”
McCaffrey’s strength will be tested at the next level. He figures to play around 205 pounds, and it’s fair to question how he’ll handle getting squared up by NFL defenders at that size.
Yet as such an elusive player, we’re not overly concerned. McCaffrey probably won’t become the type that sees 20+ touches per game, but if an NFL team uses him properly, he’ll do plenty of damage for PPR fantasy owners. McCaffrey already stated that he’ll complete WR drills and run pass routes at his March 23 Pro Day. After impressing at the Combine, it’ll be another chance to sell NFL decision makers on his Round 1 talent.
We’ll see how much goal line work he gets as an undersized rusher. And we’ll see how he develops as a pass protector. Regardless, McCaffrey’s diverse skill set should make an instant impact in fantasy football — especially PPR leagues.