Christian McCaffrey, RB
School: Stanford | Conference: PAC-12
College Experience: Junior | Age: 20
Height / Weight: 5-11 / 202 lbs
Projected Draft Status: Late 1st - 2nd Round
NFL Comparison: Brian Westbrook
Combine Spider Graph
Christian McCaffrey is one of the most productive players in NCAA history and is the son of former NFL receiver “Easy Ed” McCaffrey. He set a NCAA single-season record with 3,864 all-purpose yards in 2015 (breaking Barry Sanders’ old record by over 600 yards. Brian Westbrook holds the career record for all-purpose yards) and that year was a first-team All-American, PAC-12 Player of the Year, and Heisman Trophy finalist.
In 2016 as a true junior, Christian finished with “only” 1,639 rushing yards after dealing with a nagging injury throughout the season - good enough for first-team PAC-12 and second-team All-American honors. He dealt with a lot of criticism for his decision to skip Stanford’s bowl game in order to prepare for the NFL Draft.
McCaffrey had an excellent Combine, finishing 4th in RB SPARQ, a weight-adjusted measurement of overall athleticism. A 4.48 40-yard dash, 37.5” vertical, and 4.22 short shuttle highlighted his performance in Indianapolis.
McCaffrey comes from a ludicrously talented family in terms of athletic accomplishments. His dad, Ed, played receiver in the NFL for 12 seasons while his mother was a collegiate soccer player (both played at Stanford). His 3 brothers will all play college football and his younger brother is the 4th-rated quarterback prospect in the country who committed to Michigan. His uncle played basketball at Duke and his grandfather is Dave Sime, a U.S. Olympian who won a silver medal in the 100m.
- Natural vision as a ballcarrier to quickly identify and choose running lanes
- Fluid acceleration into the hole with deceptive power in his lower body to move the pile
- Versatile in multiple run schemes - inside, outside zone and power running plays behind a fullback
- Excels as a receiver in the backfield or split out wide - scouts say he could play full-time as a slot receiver in the NFL
- Only 20 years old, leaving multiple years of physical development when he gets to the NFL
- Lacks the mass to be a true every-down bellcow
- Doesn’t have the sudden acceleration of, say, a Dalvin Cook
#NFLCombine 3 Cone Drill:— Jared Tokarz (@NFLDraftInsider) March 4, 2017
Christian McCaffrey 6.57
Odell Beckham Jr. 6.69
To get an idea of his agility....
How He’d Fit on the Redskins
The Redskins reportedly met with Christian McCaffrey at the Combine, so there’s at least a desire to know more about the player and person, if not a genuine interest in taking McCaffrey in the 1st or (unlikely) second round. Jay Gruden was also quoted at the Combine as saying the team will consider taking a “game-changing” running back if one was available, even though he likes the team’s current stable of Rob Kelley, Chris Thompson, Mack Brown and Matt Jones.
It all depends on the Redskins’ evaluation of McCaffrey. While he’s undersized for the position at 202 pounds, he contributes so much more than just running between the tackles - whether it’s split out wide, in the return game, or even as a Wildcat (aka the WildCaff) quarterback. Given the Redskins’ proclivity to pass vs. the run and their overhaul of the wide receiver group during the offseason, this versatility will likely be seen as more of a benefit than a knock on his evaluation.
McCaffrey also fits the mold as a true “football player” who is deeply passionate about the game of football and highly competitive. I wouldn’t put it past the Redskins to take McCaffrey in the 2nd round if he was somehow still available - and think it would be a tremendous value pick - but unlikely that we use our pick at 17th overall to take a running back given the huge talent deficits the Redskins have on defense.
For what it’s worth, I’m extremely high on McCaffrey and think he’ll be a special player in the league, rating him as the #2 running back on my board ahead of the likes of Dalvin Cook, Joe Mixon and Alvin Kamara. While I think he’ll be an immediate impact player in the NFL, it’s unlikely he does so in a Redskins uniform.