Christian McCaffrey has Panthers fans hyped. They think he’s the future.
The rookie from Stanford represents a new breed of NFL player — the hybrid athlete who can line up just about anywhere on the field. The league is unquestionably trending in this direction, favoring young players like Green Bay’s Ty Montgomery who can play multiple positions and confuse defenses. It’s essentially the NFL version of the Golden State Warriors’ ahead-of-its-time strategy to play five versatile wings who can switch every screen.
During his historic college career, McCaffrey came to be known for much more than simply being the son of former NFL wide receiver Ed McCaffrey and being a white running back.
In his three years in Palo Alto, McCaffrey amassed 3,922 rushing yards; 99 receptions for 1,206 receiving yards; and 33 total touchdowns. As a sophomore he broke the NCAA’s record for all-purpose yards with 3,864. (The man whose record he broke, Barry Sanders, was his childhood hero.)
McCaffrey decided to stop giving Pac-12 coaches nightmares and declared for the draft after his junior year. Now that he’s a pro (McCaffrey has 87 yards rushing, 51 yards receiving, and one touchdown in three preseason games), he’s lining up endorsement deals.
This interview is brought to you by Activision and its new game, Call of Duty: WWII. This game marks a Call of Duty return to the World Wars for the first time in nearly a decade (Call of Duty: World at War was released in 2008).
Activision hosted a Twitch livestream of McCaffrey playing the beta version of the game in Charlotte Friday, and he chatted with Larry Brown Sports on the phone after the event. We discussed his transition to life in the NFL, his decision to skip the Sun Bowl, the Mayweather-McGregor fight (which was set to take place the next day), Game of Thrones, Drake and much more.
What was the livestream like? What are your early impressions of the game?
The 2017 NFL Draft is a distant memory, and now it’s time for the rookies to show their stuff at minicamp. These camps will provide the first opportunity to see the league’s newest and youngest talent on display.
As is the case every year, rookies will have a tremendous impact on the regular season and contribute to their team’s successes or failures. That was especially true last year for organizations like the Dallas Cowboys and San Diego Chargers, who saw their rookies explode onto the scene.
Which rookies will have that sort of impact in 2017? Let’s take a look.
10. Taco Charlton, DE, Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys lost a ton of pieces on defense — mostly in the secondary — and have struggled with their pass rush for several years now. Randy Gregory has not panned out for obvious reasons, DeMarcus Lawrence has a rather extensive injury history, and just about everyone else on their defensive line has legitimate question marks.
Taco Charlton, who was selected in the first round of the draft, could be just what the coctor ordered.
Charlton represents a young pass rusher for defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli to work with. Marinelli’s history of success with similar talents can not be understated. But this can’t be a long-term project for Dallas; Charlton needs to come in and produce immediately if the Cowboys wish to overcome their thin secondary and less-than-stellar pass rush.
Both he and the Cowboys know this, so expect him to be unleashed out of the gate.
9. Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Chicago Bears
The Denver Broncos reportedly showed interest in a couple of players on draft day.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Broncos were interested in trading up for Christian McCaffrey, and they inquired about Joe Thomas:
Unable to move up to select McCaffrey, who went No. 8 overall to the Carolina Panthers, and with the Cleveland Browns holding onto their franchise LT, the Broncos went offensive line with their first-round pick. They took Utah product Garett Bolles.
This information is good to keep in mind down the line in case the Broncos try to explore trades for these players or if they’re ever cut at some point. It’s also good information to keep in mind for the rest of the draft; the Broncos could look for a scat-back at some point.
Christian McCaffrey blew away many on the internet Wednesday with a video he posted to Twitter that showcases his incredible foot speed.
In the video, the former Stanford running back is seen moving his feet quicker than an MC Hammer backup dancer:
I can’t even move my fingers that fast when I’m typing. Sheesh.
This guy’s quickness is unreal. Now you know why he reportedly has a guarantee to be picked by the middle of the first round.
Former Stanford star Christian McCaffrey has seen his stock rise leading up to the NFL Draft, and it seems like he is confident he is not going to slip past the first round. He may have a very good reason for being so certain.
Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com is reporting that NFL insiders told him McCaffrey has received a “draft guarantee” from some team with a pick in the teens. In other words, a team selecting somewhere in the middle of the first round has assured McCaffrey that they are going to pick the running back if he is still on the board.
A previous report from Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk stated that McCaffrey has declined all private workout requests, and the belief is that he is not going to be drafted any lower than 15th overall. Interestingly enough, the Indianapolis Colts — who have a former Stanford star running their offense and a major need at running back with Frank Gore turning 34 in May — currently hold the 15th overall pick. Could they be the team that issued the guarantee to McCaffrey?
It’s unusual to hear that a team would make a promise to a player, especially since so much can change once the draft begins. Either way, there are a number of teams — including one with a pick in the top 10 — that could use McCaffrey. He probably won’t last very long on day one.
Many NFL draft prospects have been spending the past couple of weeks participating in private workouts for teams. Christian McCaffrey has not been among them.
Pro Football Talk reports that McCaffrey has turned down all private workout requests.
Mike Florio, who reports the news, believes the reason for McCaffrey’s approach is that there is more risk than reward to the private workouts. For instance, there are injury risks, so if you believe you’re already going to be a high draft pick (as McCaffrey believes he will be), working out privately for teams is not worth the possibility of getting hurt doing drills.
There have been reports saying McCaffrey could be picked in the top 10, possibly by this team. Florio says they’ve been told McCaffrey is unlikely to be taken lower than No. 15 overall.
Lisa McCaffrey, the mother of top running back prospect Christian McCaffrey, cracked a funny joke about her son on Thursday.
Christian was at the Denver Broncos’ facility for a visit with the team. That led KOA’s Brandon Krisztal to ask how the former Stanford back got to the facility:
Here was Lisa’s funny response:
Whether that was a reference to her son’s small size and young looks or just a joke about them being helicopter parents is unclear, but that sure is funny.
McCaffrey was one of the most dynamic players in college football the past two seasons at Stanford, where his dad — a former Broncos star — also played.
Recent reports have said McCaffrey could go in the top 10 of the draft, with this team being mentioned as a possibility.
The Carolina Panthers appear to be seeking a running back with their top ten pick.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said Wednesday that it “wouldn’t be shocking or surprising” if the team goes with Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey at No. 8 overall.
The Panthers are reportedly contemplating another top running back as well. It sounds as though there is a concerted effort to get Cam Newton some help on offense to hopefully get the Panthers back into Super Bowl contention as quickly as possible.
Could Christian McCaffrey be pushing his way up NFL draft boards?
According to FOX Sports’s Peter Schrager, the answer is yes. He hears that multiple NFL executives believe the Stanford running back will now be a top ten pick.
Most previous mock drafts had McCaffrey going later in the first round, but there are plenty of teams in need of running backs, and he’s clearly impressing some of them. He had a strong NFL Combine, which has probably contributed to his rise as well.
The quickness and speed you saw out of Christian McCaffrey during his time at Stanford has been confirmed with a stopwatch at the NFL Combine.
The former Cardinal running back had a stellar day in Indianapolis on Friday. He ran a 4.48 40-yard dash time, and then he posted one of the best 3-cone drills by a running back at the combine in nearly 15 years.
McCaffrey is somewhat on the small side, which may scare some teams off. But given what he did at Stanford as a rusher, receiver, punt returner, and kick returner, you’d be foolish not to take him. He seems like he could provide similar value to Darren Sproles, but with more potential to be used as a rusher.
Expect him to go in the first two rounds of the draft.