November 14, 2015; Stanford, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal running back Christian McCaffrey (5) scores a touchdown during the second quarter against the Oregon Ducks at Stanford Stadium. The Ducks defeated the Cardinal 38-36. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Running back Christian McCaffrey out of Stanford will be a star in the making as the New York Jets would be wise to select him in the 2017 NFL Draft. Here are the top three reasons why.
The New York Jets are coming off one of their worst seasons in recent memory. But they must draft the best weapon in the 2017 NFL Draft, Christian McCaffrey, even if they stay at the No. 6 overall pick
Some would say that would be the Jets reaching for someone they could get later in the draft. That may be true but at least one person doesn’t think so.
Fox Sports College Football Analyst Joel Klatt has him ranked seventh overall and first among running backs.
In the NFL of 2017, having a weapon like McCaffrey can only help a team rather than hurt it. Like Klatt wrote:
The most NFL ready offensive player in the draft, McCaffrey is a great running back but also has the ability to be used as a wide receiver and kick returner. Expect him to get 18-25 touches per game.
Let’s look at why the Jets can use him. Here are the top three reasons why he makes perfect sense for Gang Green.
Next: 3. Can step right in on special teams
3. Can step right in on special teams
Kick and punt returning is crucial to a team’s success. In 2009, Brad Smith and Leon Washington were both in the top 20 in kick return average, and Smith followed it up with a better performance in 2010.
In fact, Smith scored two touchdowns in 2010 on kick returns. Their punt returners were equally as special.
Special teams haven’t been special in recent years, and it’s part of the reason the team has been a failure because the return game hasn’t been able to establish good field position for them. That can change with a dangerous returner like McCaffrey, who averaged 26.4 yards per kickoff return and 11.2 yards per punt return in his college career.
Next: 2. McCaffrey can play as a slot receiver
Oct 31, 2015; Pullman, WA, USA; Stanford Cardinal running back Christian McCaffrey (5) makes a catch against Washington State Cougars linebacker Parker Henry (29) during the first half at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
2. McCaffrey can play as a slot receiver
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Well, McCaffrey is not only a running back, he can play slot receiver as well. He knows the entire route tree, both from the backfield and the slot.
He will have defenders on their heels very often and can burn them if they are too relaxed. In addition, his quick feet make him a mismatch on the second level.
The Jets are in need of a slot receiver during the first four games of 2017, and McCaffrey can fill that role right away. They also have young quarterbacks, and having a weapon like this at their disposal can only help their development.
Next: 1. Running style will lead to a longer career
Sep 30, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Stanford Cardinal running back Christian McCaffrey (5) rushes the ball against the Washington Huskies during the second half at Husky Stadium. Washington won 44-6. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
1. Running style will lead to a longer career
It’s usually not a good idea to compare college players to players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but this is apt, only because there is someone in his draft class that is the complete opposite of him. McCaffrey will have very few negative plays despite his size because he has quickness and moves like Barry Sanders.
McCaffrey is 5’11, 208 lbs. That’s a very similar size to Sanders (5’8″ 203 lbs.). Although, he’s a little bit bigger and stronger than Sanders, but he has quick feet like Sanders and will make guys miss all over the field (in the backfield, at the line of scrimmage, on the second level and in the secondary), in a similar manner to Sanders.
Some fans want the Jets to draft Leonard Fournette, but he’s a bulldozing running back who will lower his head to take on a lot of punishment. This will lead to a shorter career, and as a result, he may not see the Jets rebuild to fruition.
McCaffrey’s ability to make defenders miss will help keep him healthy for the long-run because he won’t take constant punishment. Some would say they need to draft a corner at that spot, but with the depth at corner in this year’s draft, the Jets can wait until overall pick No. 39.