Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
With the 14th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select: Christian McCaffrey, running back, Stanford.
I know what you are probably thinking, and let me make my case. But let's be real here, anybody that recognizes me and has seen what I've posted over the past month or so should be in no way surprised.
I know Joe Douglas rarely if ever drafts a RB high. I know we have multiple other needs that could be addressed with this pick. But Joe Douglas and Howie Roseman aren't calling the shots in this mock, I am. And I think that not only is McCaffrey one of the best RB prospects in the draft but one of the best overall prospects.
McCaffrey's calling card is his agility and elusiveness. He is able to cut on a dime with devastating precision, keeps his feet moving at all times, and is basically able to juke any player out of their cleats. This is well documented, and any McCaffrey fan will bring this up immediately to the point where I don't need to talk about it in much more detail.
The number one thing I look for in a RB is great vision and field awareness. This is McCaffrey's best attribute in my opinion. His ability to see the play develop and notice where the holes are going to open up will allow him to get yards in any situation. Furthermore, his patience is elite. He will wait for his hole to develop, and if it never opens he can bounce it to the outside for even more yards using his aforementioned agility.
McCaffrey is a versatile player who can line up anywhere on the field. He has great hands and runs excellent routes, which has led many to think he can easily become a slot receiver if needed. In fact, Stanford motioned him out of the backfield often to take advantage of this skill and create mismatches by putting him on a LB that he can obviously beat. On top of that, he has shown skill as a return man. Not only is he versatile but he is effective at everything he does. He broke Barry Sanders's record for most all-purpose yards in a single season. Sanders had 3,250 in 1988. McCaffrey had 3,864 in 2015. McCaffrey beat the record set by one of the greatest RBs in history by over 600 yards. Let that sink in.
McCaffrey is the most technically sound RB I have ever seen. He has textbook form that allows him to cover up for his shortcomings. The number one area I can see this is in his blocking ability. His poor bench press score has been well documented, yet McCaffrey is not the liability as a pass blocker that would be expected out of someone with such a weak score. He can hold his ground well enough to be effective with pure technique. And while he isn't the fastest guy, his fundamentals make him effective regardless. This is prevalent in the fact that he rarely if ever fumbles the ball, owning one of the lowest fumble rates in the NCAA.
Whenever somebody says that they don't want McCaffrey, it is usually followed immediately with them saying that he isn't a 3 down back. I think this is far from the truth. It just depends on how you use him. He has shown the ability to break arm tackles when given space, and if you watch the tape again he has shown an ability to keep his legs moving and try to fight for that extra yard or two. His sheer versatility allows him to be put anywhere on a 3rd down situation. Put him and a more powerful back like James Conner in the backfield with Carson Wentz in a shotgun, and you will have defensive coordinators panicking on what we will do on that down. McCaffrey will never be known as a power back, but any NFL OC worth their weight should be able to utilize McCaffrey effectively in situations where he might not necessarily succeed because his ability to create mismatches and his home run hitting ability are just that strong.
It seems a lot of the best comparisons for McCaffrey have been past and present Eagles RBs: Brian Westbrook, Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood. However, I think the best comparison is one that hasn't been brought up much: LeSean McCoy. Shady came out of Pitt at 5'10", 198 lbs. McCaffrey is 5'11", 202 lbs. On top of that, take a look at what Shady's scouting report said. To sum it up, Shady had elite vision, agility, patience, elusiveness, and an excellent ability to hit the hole hard and possessed a great second and third gear once at the next level. He also had great hands and route running ability for a RB. Lastly, he is hardworking. The biggest knocks on Shady were that he did not have good size or strength and lacked the power to get the tough yards (on top of things like pass protection and fumbling).
Kinda sounds like McCaffrey's scouting report, doesn't it? In fact, Shady had more negatives to his game than McCaffrey. We all know how Shady turned out, and we have not replaced him well since we traded him. If we had a chance for a younger and more technically sound Shady, why wouldn't you want to take him?
I like to think that I know my RBs well, and I cannot see this guy not succeeding in some form at the next level. He is the ultimate weapon. His vision, athleticism, IQ, and fundamentals are top notch, and we would be fools not to take McCaffrey.
Please, if you are not convinced yet take a look at this highlight reel. This kid is gonna be special.
2017 BGN Mock Draft Order
1) Browns (JALupowitz): Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
2) 49ers (sports00fan00): Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
3) Bears (gubby): Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama
4) Jaguars (TheWhalwing): Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
5) Titans (drc242): Jamal Adams, S, LSU
6) Jets (boomorbust): Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
7) Chargers (NowWhat?): Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
8) Panthers (B-Potts): Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
9) Bengals (Kiko’s Delivery Service): Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
10) Bills (jimmyrustler): O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
11) Saints (NotSoSlick): Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
12) Browns (Straight Edge Sid): Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
13) Cardinals (Paulie97): Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
14) Eagles (ablesser88): Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
15) Colts (mconner96):
16) Ravens (The Man, The Myth, the Matthews!):
17) Washington (kbruneault):
18) Titans (mchiodo):
19) Buccaneers (ei78):
20) Broncos (NVEaglesShark):
21) Lions (Shark Fighter):
22) Dolphins (J. Wil):
23) Giants (BigWardy59):
24) Raiders (big DUB):
25) Texans (GotFunds):
26) Seahawks (Rogmcc23):
27) Chiefs (B1G Cat):
28) Cowboys (RegalEagle):
29) Packers (Wutang_):
30) Steelers (General_Lee12):
31) Falcons (SirJon):
32) Saints (Huffs_cellmate):