clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2017 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford

Christian McCaffrey is an offensive weapon. Will the Giants get to pair him with Odell Beckham?

NCAA Football: Rice at Stanford Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The New York GIants need more offensive production. They need it from their receiving corps and they need more production from their backfield.

Since parting ways with Rashad Jennings, it has become increasingly likely that the Giants will dip into the this year’s incredibly deep and talented running back class. And while most are focusing on bigger, more powerful running backs to complement Paul Perkins, the Giants could well fall in love with Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey.

Measurables

Pros

  • Incredible movement skills. Probably the most flexible and fluid player I’ve ever scouted.
  • Great patience and vision behind the line of scrimmage.
  • Natural hands as a receiver and a polished route runner out of the backfield or lined up as a receiver.
  • Surprisingly tough runner. Not big, but a powerful lower body makes him difficult to bring down.
  • Added value as a punt or kick returner.
  • Great intangibles. High football IQ, high character, and from a football family.
  • Consistently high production despite being Stanford’s only true offensive threat the last two years.

Cons

  • A bit undersized at 202 pounds. Carried a high workload in college, but whether he can stand up to the NFL is a question.
  • Won’t “punish” defenses, and might not be a fit for a power run game.
  • Doesn’t have true breakaway speed, relies more on quickness and acceleration than pure speed to get chunks of yardage.
  • Size could hold him back as a blocker at the next level.

Does He Fit With The Giants?

In a word: Yes.

McCaffrey isn’t just a versatile offensive weapon, but a talented running back. He has the ability to set up his blocks and the quickness to take advantage of holes that are only open for an instant, or make defenders in holes look downright silly a he dances around them. McCaffrey’s quickness, flexibility, balance, and agility let him turn tackles into glancing blows which he can run out of and keep going.

His versatility is an asset too. He might have the most natural hands as a receiver in the entire draft class and some of the most polished route running as well. He should be more than simply a check-down option, but a viable offensive threat out of the backfield and a dangerous weapon in screen passes.

McCaffrey’s skillset overlaps with those of Paul Perkins and Shane Vereen, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The additions of D.J. Fluker, Rhett Ellison, and Brandon Marshall upgrade the “punishing” aspect of the Giants’ offense. Adding a player like McCaffrey would allow them to keep the playbook for their up-tempo offense wide-open regardless of the particular running back in the game, and all three of the smaller backs would stay fresher.

Prospect Video

Big Board Rankings

Big Blue View - 15th overall

CBS Sports - 16th overall

Draft Countdown - 27th overall

Draft Tek - 22nd overall

Final Thoughts

The thought of putting Christian McCaffrey in the same offense as Odell Beckham Jr. should excite any fan of the New York Giants -- and scare any defensive coordinator that would have to try and gameplan for them.

However, there is a pretty good chance that McCaffrey will be selected before the 23rd pick in the draft. In fact, with his stock rising following a terrific, and extended, combine workout, it might even be something of a miracle if McCaffrey fell to the Giants. Though running backs’ stock is always difficult to predict, it’s possible that McCaffrey could emerge as both the best running back and best receiver from this draft class, and it is more likely than not that a team will take a chance on that.