The freshest face in the Carolina backfield certainly seems to have some roster security going in to his rookie season, but is he as safe as he appears? Let’s take a closer look as we approach next week’s deadline to cut the roster down to just 53 players.
The investment of a first round pick, number 8 overall at that, would suggest that McCaffrey is entitled to sound sleep. In fact, after thinking about some intense googling on the subject I have come to assume that no team in the modern NFL has cut a running back after drafting him in the first round but before he had played a regular season snap. However, it could be dangerous to over value tradition in a league that is all about speed and flexibility (two traits McCaffrey reportedly brings to the table).
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers ably demonstrated last week the value of cutting your losses when they released their disastrously over-drafted kicker, Roberto Aguayo. The Falcons, as a counter-point, have still not found it within themselves to move on from their own disastrously over-drafted player, Matt Ryan, in a display of stubbornness that may have cost them a Super Bowl.
Time will tell with Christian McCaffrey, a running back who is already receiving loads of good press from all over the internet. Playing with Cam Newton and rookie phenom Curtis Samuel tonight may provide the young running back the perfect opportunity to make his case for a roster spot once and for all. Just keep in mind, Panthers fans, this is still only the preseason, and if we accept conventional wisdom, not a single snap we see here matters.