Carolina Panthers: Is McCaffrey NFL’s best player under-25?

Dean Jones
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey /

Carolina Panthers’ All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey has been named in the higher echelons of a Pro Football Focus list of players under 25.

There is little doubt surrounding the game-changing ability of Carolina Panthers’ running back Christian McCaffrey. He has become an indispensable member of the organization in a supreme rise to superstardom during his three years in the NFL.

This has also caught the attention of Pro Football Focus, who named McCaffrey in the top-five players under 25 in a recent list.

The All-Pro standout made No. 3 on the PFF list, with only Indianapolis Colts’ formidable guard  Quenton Nelson and Super Bowl-winning quarterback Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs ahead of him.

Writing about the decision, PFF’s Ben Lindsey had this to say on McCaffrey.

"“McCaffrey is the ideal modern NFL running back. He has been the most valuable player at the position since stepping foot on an NFL field in 2017, and he has developed into one of the more dangerous threats in the league as both a runner and as a receiver out of the backfield. . . . He can do everything you would want a running back to do, and he’ll continue to do so for the Panthers given that he’s coming off a freshly-inked contract extension.”"

McCaffrey is the best dual-threat running back in the league and was rewarded for his outstanding contribution to the Panthers with a four-year extension worth $64 million this offseason. The new deal included a $21 million signing bonus and a little more than $38 million in guarantees.

This represents a huge vote of confidence by the Carolina Panthers’ decision-makers related to McCaffrey. He is now officially the face of the franchise after a series of key departures during the offseason as head coach Matt Rhule builds a foundation that will possibly make them a contender in the coming years.

There doesn’t seem to be much depth behind McCaffrey at the moment, which is a concern. He logged more than 400 touches overall in 2019 and this is something that comes with serious risk of injury if it is going to continue down the line.

Coming in behind McCaffrey on the list was Los Angeles Chargers safety Derwin James at No. 4, with New York Jets safety Jamal Adams ranked No. 5.

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Chris Godwin, DeShaun Watson, Lamar Jackson, Myles Garrett, and Nick Bosa also managed to secure places in the top ten. While there is little dispute regarding Mahomes’ place on the list, putting McCaffrey as a close second should also have warranted consideration.