ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay released the 3.0 version of his 2017 NFL mock draft on Wednesday morning. After having the Eagles take Florida cornerback Teez Tabor in his first two mocks, now McShay has a running back slotted to Philadelphia. But it’s not Dalvin Cook! Here’s the pick at No. 14, via ESPN In$ider.
“Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford - McCaffrey has a ton of versatility: He can handle 10 or so carries per game, catch passes as a slot receiver and contribute in the return game. He had an exceptional week at the combine, showing off his straight-line speed and short-area quickness. McCaffrey's elite character could be the tiebreaker with Florida State RB Dalvin Cook for some teams.”
Before the Eagles picked McCaffrey, here’s who went off the board in McShay’s mock.
1 - DE Myles Garrett
2 - DE Solomon Thomas
3 - S Jamal Adams
4 - TE O.J. Howard
5 - DL Jonathan Allen
6 - CB Marshon Lattimore
7 - S Malik Hooker
8 - RB Leonard Fournette
9 - LB Reuben Foster
10 - WR Corey Davis
11 - DE Derek Barnett
12 - QB Deshaun Watson
13 - CB Tre’Davious White
Call me crazy but I actually don’t hate this pick for the Eagles. McCaffrey is a pretty good player, and as McShay notes, he’s more than just a running back. He also figures as a big contributor in the passing game. In three years at Stanford, McCaffrey logged 99 receptions for 1,206 yards (12.2 average) and 10 touchdowns. As a rusher, McCaffrey gained 3,922 yards on 632 attempts (6.2 average) along with 21 scores. Not bad.
BGN profiled McCaffrey in a scouting report back in January.
NFL Comparison: It is hard not to have Brian Westbrook flashbacks when watching Christian McCaffrey. Both were smaller backs who may not have had blazing speed, but were so quick and had such great vision it made them dynamic runners. Also similar to Westbrook, McCaffrey is the type of player who could be a 100 catch wide receiver as well as a running back and his third down ability and versatility makes him so valuable to an offense. McCaffrey has been a star on special teams during his time at Stanford and, like Westbrook, that is a wrinkle in his skill set that may make him even more of a commodity on draft day.
There is no mistaken that Christian McCaffrey has the ability to be number one back in an NFL offense. His cerebral and dynamic running style combined with his incredible skill set as a receiver make him a player who could be the focal point of an offense. He does not have the size or overall athletic ability of other backs in this class, but his quickness and acceleration are more than enough to make up for that in terms of "creating" offense.
McCaffrey would be an excellent fit in the Eagles offense. At Stanford, McCaffrey got plenty of experience running in a power based scheme and also showed the ability to execute and produce in zone concepts. Furthermore, Eagles running backs were targeted in the passing game over 100 times last year and caught a combined 76 passes. A dual threat running back who can catch passes out of the backfield but can line up at receiver is the perfect skill set for what the Eagles need on offense. Overall, McCaffrey is a top five running back in this class and if the Eagles do not go running back in the first round, he should absolutely be their day two target.
Now, while I don’t hate this pick, I completely expect the Eagles to not draft a running back in the first round. I’d say there’s a 99% chance they don’t draft a rusher that high. You just look at how members of this regime have valued running backs in the past and it’s never been this high.
Still, giving Carson Wentz a legitimate running back to work is fun to think about. Hopefully that’s something the Eagles do now that they’ve fixed the gaping holes at wide receiver. I imagine they’ll draft a running back later on since this is a supposedly loaded class. It sure wouldn’t be a terrible idea to wait on running back and take one of the top receivers or corners or pass rushers on the board at No. 14 instead.
For more on McCaffery, check out his game film via Draft Breakdown. Watch his YouTube highlights below.
Christian McCaffrey spider graph!