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Christian McCaffrey: Best 2017 RB Prospect?
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ColeTrain


Joined: 17 Apr 2017
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:05 pm    Post subject: Christian McCaffrey: Best 2017 RB Prospect? Reply with quote

The draft is merely 10 days away now...

One of my favorite prospects from this year is Christian McCaffrey. He's such a versatile back and isn't confined to running the ball down after down (but he's great at that). While this is a very strong RB class, McCaffrey is, across the board, considered a Top 3 RB prospect this year (along with Fournette and Cook). But just how strong is this year's RB class? MMQB of SI ranked the past 4 years of RB prospects, and the results were astounding. [http://mmqb.si.com/mmqb/2017/04/04/nfl-draft-best-running-backs-2014-leonard-fournette-ezekiel-elliott-dalvin-cook-tre-mason-christian]

(bolded names are available in this year's draft)
1. Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State (2016)
2. Leonard Fournette, LSU (2017)
3. Dalvin Cook, Florida State (2017)

4. Todd Gurley, Georgia (2015)
5. Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin (2015)
6. Joe Mixon, Oklahoma (2017)
7. Derrick Henry, Alabama (2016)
8. Carlos Hyde, Ohio State (2014)
9. Alvin Kamara, Tennessee (2017)
10. Christian McCaffrey, Stanford (2017)

11. Tre Mason, Auburn (2014)
12. Jeremy Hill, LSU (2014)
13. Jordan Howard, Indiana (2016)
14. Tevin Coleman, Indiana (2015)
15. D'Onta Foreman, Texas (2017)

Six of the 15 prospects (and 2 of the top 3) are in this year's draft. That's an exceptionally strong class -- especially given how much of a wild card Joe Mixon is because of off-field issues. His troubled past could cause him to drop, despite his immense talent, to a mid/late round. That is reminiscent of Tyreek Hill, who exploded for KC last year. Regardless, this class is very strong, and has a load of depth that we haven't seen in awhile.

Though McCaffrey is on the lower end of MMQB's top 5 RB prospects this year, he's a unique talent. Having a running back who can easily transition into doing things like this: [https://media.profootballfocus.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/McCaffrey2.gif] is incredibly valuable. Add that to the fact that he's a very talented runner. Tiki Barber (who, ironically, NFL analyst/scout Lance Zierlein compared McCaffrey to) claims he would take McCaffrey over Fournette (who is generally regarded as the #1 RB this year.
[https://twitter.com/NFL/status/854024552820596737] A year ago, Pro Football Focus rated McCaffrey as their #1 running back -- over Fournette. [https://www.profootballfocus.com/why-christian-mccaffrey-is-our-no-1-college-running-back/] His combine day was spectacular. He recorded the fastest 40 time (4.48.) of the top RB prospects, tied for 2nd in the vertical jump (37.5) behind Alvin Kamara), topped the RB class in the cone drill (6.57), and beat the top prospects in the 20 and 40 yard shuttles. Athletically, there is no question about his value.

In fact, the most commonly cited concern of McCaffrey has to do with his size (5'11' 202 lbs.). Another NFL player with almost identical size is Jamaal Charles, who currently averages over 5 yds per carry on his career, and has likewise been an outstanding versatile player (and had similar combine numbers). Moreover, some scouts (Charlie Campbell of Walter Football) have notched Jamaal Charles as McCaffrey's NFL comparison. All things considered, McCaffrey is probably one of the better options for a team looking to add an element of explosiveness to their offense and special teams (or possibly a *cough* Jamaal Charles replacement?).
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ColeTrain


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thoughts and comments?
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CalhounLambeau


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a small group here we've talked McCaffrey to death in the following thread, and the one before it over the past couple of years. I realize you're a new guy here, welcome.
http://www.footballsfuture.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=584609

My pre-combine evaluation.

Quote:
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.


To me he's just a no-brainer and will be a fine player. But everyone has their opinions. He's a very good RB. He's a very good WR. He's exceptional off the field. He's an exceptional worker. He's only 20 years old and still has plenty of time to improve his body and get better. Good RB's come in all shapes and sizes. I'm not a team with a scheme. I just judge talent. McCaffrey gets a high grade from me which puts him in the first round. Everyone has their opinions and criteria. I just like good football players. You just draft them.

I haven't finished my RB grades yet. It's between McCaffrey and Fournette. We'll see.
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tyler735


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This year is undoubtedly the best RB class I've seen in a long time. I personally have had McCaffrey as the top RB in this class for quite some time now followed by Fournette, Cook, Foreman, and Mixon. I think any of those 5 players have pro bowl potential if they stay healthy and out of trouble. McCaffrey's versatility is the xfactor for me though. He's got the athleticism and instincts (vision, patience, etc) to be a great runner. Add in the rare pass catching/route running ability and he could end up being a very special player in the NFL
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MikeT14


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

McCaff is my#1 RB. Would love to have him on the Skins.
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tom cody


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

He's up there but I'd still take Fournette over him.
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PossibleCabbage


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

McCaffrey's place in this class is interesting to me since this could be an inflection point on the evolution of offensive strategy. All the trends in the NFL since the late 90s have been towards something like "throw every down if you can do so effectively." But all the while people have been speculating that eventually the pendulum is going to swing back, and "run-first" offenses are going to become the norm again.

If the current trends continue, and you evaluate RBs primarily by starting on passing downs and working backwards, McCaffrey is #1 with a bullet in this group. If they start reversing in the next few years, we could conceivably look at McCaffrey sort of like we look at the Tavon Austin pick now.

Personally, McCaffrey is the only RB in this class I'd consider taking in the first.
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ColeTrain


Joined: 17 Apr 2017
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="CalhounLambeau"]As a small group here we've talked McCaffrey to death in the following thread, and the one before it over the past couple of years. I realize you're a new guy here, welcome.
http://www.footballsfuture.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=584609

Okay, cool. Thanks! Smile I love football and wanted to find a forum where I could discuss things like this with competent people. Lol.

Quote:
My pre-combine evaluation.

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.


Quote:
To me he's just a no-brainer and will be a fine player. But everyone has their opinions. He's a very good RB. He's a very good WR. He's exceptional off the field. He's an exceptional worker. He's only 20 years old and still has plenty of time to improve his body and get better. Good RB's come in all shapes and sizes. I'm not a team with a scheme. I just judge talent. McCaffrey gets a high grade from me which puts him in the first round. Everyone has their opinions and criteria. I just like good football players. You just draft them.

I haven't finished my RB grades yet. It's between McCaffrey and Fournette. We'll see.



Yeah, I agree with pretty much everything you said here. He reminds me a lot of Jamaal Charles in what he's able to do in the passing game, but with better hands. Their size is almost exactly the same and their combine numbers are very similar as well. Fournette is probably a better traditional running back, but McCaffrey has such great vision and versatility that he's probably more valuable. I really like this year's RB class, so much talent.
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MemphisEagles


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love him, but I don't think he's going to be the guy to get a bunch of carries, rushing yards, and TDs.

I think he will get a lot of yards and TDs from total touches though.
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lark25


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think in some schemes he would be the #1 RB this year, whereas other RBs would be better in others. A matter of preference and fit, however he is in the mix as one of the best.
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ColeTrain


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PossibleCabbage wrote:
McCaffrey's place in this class is interesting to me since this could be an inflection point on the evolution of offensive strategy. All the trends in the NFL since the late 90s have been towards something like "throw every down if you can do so effectively." But all the while people have been speculating that eventually the pendulum is going to swing back, and "run-first" offenses are going to become the norm again.

If the current trends continue, and you evaluate RBs primarily by starting on passing downs and working backwards, McCaffrey is #1 with a bullet in this group. If they start reversing in the next few years, we could conceivably look at McCaffrey sort of like we look at the Tavon Austin pick now.

Personally, McCaffrey is the only RB in this class I'd consider taking in the first.


I've heard those theories. With all of the concern in the NFL with health and their new rules to prevent head injuries and the like, I don't see it likely that a "swing back" of the pendulum any time soon. It's certainly possible, though.

That's interesting... why would you consider McCaffrey alone for R1? Most people are of the opinion that Fournette, at least (and even some asserting Cook as well), is a better running back by the strictest definition of the position. I think Fournette would be a better back in most systems, but for teams who like to shake things up (like the Chiefs did with Charles), McCaffrey would be the better option.

I'm just curious, I really can't decide who I'd place as the better prospect.
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GoLdRuSh


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mccaffrey reminds me a lot of Brian Westbrook. Similar build but McC is faster and stronger. He should be used in a similar fashion and can be a top 5 RB in the NFL.
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MrOaktown_56


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When it's all said and done, I think 3 backs in this class have a decent chance to have better careers than McCaffrey, assuming they don't go to highly dysfunctional destinations.

That being said, he's a good player. He just won't fit on every team.
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PossibleCabbage


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ColeTrain wrote:
That's interesting... why would you consider McCaffrey alone for R1? Most people are of the opinion that Fournette, at least (and even some asserting Cook as well), is a better running back by the strictest definition of the position. I think Fournette would be a better back in most systems, but for teams who like to shake things up (like the Chiefs did with Charles), McCaffrey would be the better option.


Fournette comes down to "how much do you really want to run I-formation stuff" and "how quickly can you teach him his responsibilities in the passing offense." If you're a team that either has or thinks they have a QB, you've got to be a bit nervous about him. As good as Adrian Peterson was (and Fournette is not as good a prospect) his inability to catch or block certainly restricted what Minnesota could do on offense. He'll go in the first, but I wouldn't take him there.

Cook I wouldn't touch because he's a fumbler, he's got a history of off-field incidents, and if he goes in the first he would be the worst testing RB to go in the first in the past 20 years (and one of only three who tested in the bottom 50% of RBs athletically). He might go in the first, but I'd be really happy if a team picks him before I'm up.

If it didn't have to be with my first pick, and the owner of the team I'm picking for was okay with it, I'd consider Mixon before Fournette and Cook, in all honesty.
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tyler735


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MrOaktown_56 wrote:
When it's all said and done, I think 3 backs in this class have a decent chance to have better careers than McCaffrey, assuming they don't go to highly dysfunctional destinations.

That being said, he's a good player. He just won't fit on every team.


I can't say I agree with this logic to say he won't fit on every team. This could be used for essentially every RB prospect in the draft to some degree.

For example, I don't envision Fournette being all that great of a fit for the Saints who pass the ball 500+ times a year, but McCaffrey on the other hand is a perfect fit. What I'm getting at is all the top RB's will have teams that fit their playstyles better than others however these top RB's (McCaffrey,Fournette, Cook) will still find success in just about any scheme since they all have elite talent and even if they aren't in a perfect scheme for their talents, they will still be able to overcome it. McCaffrey has elite patience/vision to go along with great athleticism. That combo will generate success on any offense.

Also a side note that I've seen regarding McCaffrey. I don't buy that McCaffrey isn't big enough to be a feature RB like some have stated. He has similar size/athleticism to a guy like Lesean McCoy, and didn't show any signs at Stanford that he couldn't be a feature back as he had several 30+ carry games. There are several guys with similar stature that have had no issues being feature RB's
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