Surprise! Christian McCaffrey is the best running back in the NFL, and now it’s officially official because Pro Football Focus has declared it so.
In an article listing the fifty best players in the NFL for the 2020 season, McCaffrey ranked number 10 overall, and that was good for the highest running back on the board. Closest to him? Nick Chubb at 27th overall. Here is what Pro Football Focus had to say about McCaffrey:
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.
It would be hard to disagree with that. McCaffrey is a coaches dream and an opponent’s nightmare. The positional versatility created by his ability to do everything an offensive players can do in an above average to excellent capacity makes him a nightmare to try and plan for. Even if you somehow appropriately plan for him, he’ll probably still make you look foolish pretty regularly.
It makes me wonder why PFF was beating the drum so loudly for us to trade away McCaffrey. I’m sorry, but I have never been a believer in trading away a franchise cornerstone, especially when you’re talking best in the entire league territory, for any reason. Even if you are trying to rebuild, you rebuild around a guy like that. The likelihood of your draft pick haul yielding another guy like that is so low, even if you get multiple first round picks. One day, we’re pretty certain to be writing about McCaffrey entering the hall of fame, so again, I would really like to write about it in the context of an entire career spent with the Carolina Panthers.