Christian McCaffrey came in at No. 10 on Pro Football Focus’ top-50 list, but was that too low for a player that has taken the NFL by storm?
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey’s influence on the field cannot be understated. He is the best dual-threat player in the NFL and is a big play waiting to happen whenever he touches the ball.
Although this is a period of unprecedented change for the Carolina Panthers. They were shrewd to tie down their former first-round pick for an extended stay with the franchise this offseason. McCaffrey penned a four-year, $64 million deal that included a $21 million signing bonus and $38 million guaranteed to officially become the face of the organization.
This will give new head coach Matt Rhule a player who is guaranteed to give him elite production consistently. It will also take some of the pressure off quarterback Teddy Bridgewater as he familiarises himself with new surroundings.
McCaffrey became only the third player in NFL history to go over 1,000-yards rushing and receiving in 2019. This did not go unnoticed by Pro Football Focus, who slotted the back in at No. 10 in their top-50 list recently.
Although this is arguably too low for a player with unrivaled talent. It probably has everything to do with how running backs are perceived across the NFL at the present time. Speaking on his decision to slot McCaffrey at No. 10, PPF writer Sam Monson had this to say.
"“Christian McCaffrey is the perfect running back for today’s NFL. One of the few players with the skills to line up as a wide receiver but also repeatedly carry the ball between the tackles, he has been the Panthers’ offense for the past couple of seasons. In 2019, he touched the ball 403 times from scrimmage, racking up over 2,000 yards and breaking 65 tackles along the way. It marked the second consecutive year he had more than 100 receptions, and his 116 catches were the most by a running back in NFL history.”"
Defensive tackle Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams topped the list ahead of Super Bowl-winning quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Atlanta Falcons’ wide receiver Julio Jones came in at No. 3, with Quenton Nelson and George Kittle rounding off the top five.
Can Christian McCaffrey get even better with the Carolina Panthers in 2020?
Giving McCaffrey more than 400 touches next season would not be a smart move by the Carolina Panthers. They will want their best player fresh for the entirety of his new deal. And putting this sort of workload on his shoulders is just not the best way to go.
This is not likely given the passing weapons on the roster. And there is sure to be more consistent quarterback play from here on in. All this bodes well for McCaffrey, who bucked the trend regarding running backs across the league by getting a long-term commitment from the Panthers.
The truth is McCaffrey might not have to better in order to get more production from the Panthers’ offense. Joe Brady masterminded one of the most prolific college passing attacks at LSU last season. And if he can transition this to the NFL. Then it is going to come with significant improvement from Carolina’s perspective.
McCaffrey will be an integral part of this. And even though his PFF ranking might be deemed as a little low compared to others. It adds more fuel to the fire as the player looks to further cement his increasing legacy in 2020.