Grading the Panthers' selection of Christian McCaffrey in the NFL Draft
Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 202.
Position: Running back.
What he offers: McCaffrey is an absolute weapon on offense as both a running back and receiver. He has blazing speed and excellent hands that helped him break the all-time all-purpose yard mark in just his second year at Stanford, where he was used not only as a between-the-tackles back, but a receiving weapon and kick returner as well.
“This is going to make all of our jobs easier,” said McCaffrey via conference call, regarding his role. He added he expects to be utilized in the same fashion as he was at Stanford – as both a receiver and a running back.
McCaffrey led the nation in all-purpose yards with 211.6 per game, and ranked fourth nationally with 145.7 rushing yards per game. He also averaged 183.7 all-purpose yards per game in his career, the most of any active FBS player. McCaffrey is one of two FBS players with at least 3,500 rushing yards and 1,200 receiving yards.
McCaffrey is the highest-selected running back by the Panthers since 1996, when the team selected Tim Biakabutuka at No. 8.
McCaffrey received the call from Carolina from his family’s home in Colorado. During his pre-draft visit, he met with Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, his wife, the coaching staff and linebackers Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly.
“When I saw Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis, I tried to imagine blocking them and thought, man, I have to get ready!” McCaffrey joked.
Worth mentioning: In 2015, McCaffrey’s 3,864 all-purpose yards broke the the NCAA record previously held by Barry Sanders. McCaffrey had posters of Sanders on his wall as a child. ... Was an Academic All-American while at Stanford. ... Plays the harmonica and the piano. ... Son of former Broncos receiver Ed McCaffrey. ... McCaffrey was a Sports Illustrated “Faces in the Crowd” feature when he was a kid. ... The Panthers’ new wide receivers coach, Lance Taylor, also coached McCaffrey at Stanford. ... Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman was a scout for the Broncos when McCaffrey (senior) played receiver. ... Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis announced the pick at the draft in Philadelphia, and accidentally announced McCaffrey as a “wide receiver.”
Bet you didn’t know: McCaffrey is the first white running back to be drafted in the first round since 1992 (Tommy Vardell, also from Stanford). McCaffrey also was a state champion in high school at Valor Christian in Colorado and the state’s current record-holder in the 4X200 relay.
What they’re saying: “Christian McCaffrey is one of the most finely tuned athletes on the planet.” – Stanford head coach David Shaw