PFF’s Cris Collinsworth’s Mock Draft has Colts Selecting Christian McCaffrey
According to Pro Football Focus’ Cris Collinsworth, the Indianapolis Colts will select Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey with the 15th overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Along with LSU’s Leonard Fournette and FSU’s Dalvin Cook, Christian McCaffrey is universally considered one of the best running back prospects in this year’s draft class:
"November 5, 2016; Stanford, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal running back Christian McCaffrey (5) runs with the football against the Oregon State Beavers during the first quarter at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports15. Indianapolis ColtsChristian McCaffrey, RB, StanfordThe Colts have to create a quicker passing game to keep quarterback Andrew Luck healthy. Luck’s greatest weakness is his belief that if he holds the ball, something will happen downfield. If he has a weapon that would encourage him to check it down, this entire offense could explode, and Luck might make it through the season in one piece. The most versatile weapon in this draft is McCaffrey. Marshall Faulk was drafted by the Colts once upon a time, and McCaffrey may not be Faulk, but his style is very similar. He can split out and play wide receiver without any issue. Plus, he has really quick moves running inside. His hands are better than most wide receivers, and he has no fear. McCaffrey is surprisingly tough to tackle, and averages 3.3 yards after contact, a very good number. It would not surprise me if McCaffrey ended the 2017 season as Rookie of the Year."
Of course, McCaffrey is the son of former Denver Broncos wide receiver Ed McCaffrey, but the 5’11”, 212 pound running back has become a special player in his own right–following in his father’s footsteps.
The 1st-Team All-Pac 12 (2015, 2016), Consensus All-American (2015), and Pac-12 Player of the Year (2015) finished his highly decorated Stanford career with 3,922 rushing yards on 632 carries (6.2 ypc avg) and 21 rushing touchdowns, as well as 99 receptions for 1,206 receiving yards and 10 touchdown receptions.
His 3,922 career rushing yards are 3rd most in school history and his 2,019 rushing yards in 2015 is the most ever in a single season for Stanford running backs all-time.
McCaffrey is coming off a junior season in which he ran for 1,603 rushing yards on 253 carries (6.3 ypc avg) and 13 rushing touchdowns, in addition to 37 receptions for 310 receiving yards and 3 touchdown receptions.
Just a season prior, per Pro Football Focus, he had the top receiving grade among running backs in 2015 in what was a monster season with 2,664 total yards from scrimmage.
Via his NFL.com Draft Profile:
"SOURCES TELL US“I’ll be his draft grades are going to be all over the place because some teams will see him as a complementary back and others will see him as a multi-touch guy. Teams who run a lot of three and four wide looks will like him because he can run those inside zone plays out of the gun and they can also motion him out of the backfield and just try and mismatch him.” – AFC Pro Personnel DirectorNFL COMPARISONTiki BarberBOTTOM LINEMultidimensional runner with flex appeal for teams looking for a player who can carry the ball 20 times or catch it 10 depending on the game plan. McCaffrey’s size, power and speed are just average, but he is able to create yardage for himself with his vision and elusiveness. McCaffrey’s ability to return punts and kicks could be the value sweetner that pushes his name into the first round."
Here’s some other takes on McCaffrey as well:
Of course, the Colts could use a long-term answer at the running back position, as veteran starter Frank Gore turns 34 years old in May.
While the team re-signed fellow veteran Robert Turbin, the franchise could sorely use some fresh legs in their backfield in the hopes of a youngster eventually becoming the successor to Gore as the team’s newest every down workhorse.
If the team were to select McCaffrey, there’s no question that he could immediately supplant Gore as the starter, while instantly providing the team with a multi-threat running back out of the backfield.
From that standpoint, McCaffrey would clearly upgrade the Colts running back position–giving starting quarterback Andrew Luck an explosive weapon in the receiving game.
He’s the type of dynamic weapon that could take the Colts passing attack to the next level with his unique ability as a checkdown and slot receiver.
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That being said, the Colts have so many holes remaining–specifically on defense, so it’s arguable whether the team wouldn’t be better off selecting a running back in the mid-rounds of this year’s NFL Draft in what’s highly regarded as a deep class at the position.
McCaffrey makes sense for the Colts, but whether he makes sense that early in Round 1 remains to be seen.