Tony Avelar/Associated Press
2020 Age: 24
From an athletic standpoint, there’s not much Christian McCaffrey can’t do on the football field. Coming out of Stanford, the 6'0”, 201-pound McCaffrey is projected to run in the 4.45 range, but it's his acceleration and agility that really stand out. Not only can he run past defenders in space, but he'll also make them miss with ankle-breaking moves.
The one area that McCaffrey lacks that can't be developed is running power. He's a thin, lean back with speed and agility. There are times he'll run between the tackles and lower his pads, but even then he's more jitterbug than bulldozer.
Watching McCaffrey glide through holes in the open field is a special thing. He's effortless in his ability to identify rushing lanes and cut back against the grain on the fly. There are questions about how well this will translate from college to the NFL, but Stanford's offense asks McCaffrey to do all the things an NFL scheme will.
As a runner, receiver and return man, McCaffrey has big upside. He's a more polished Ameer Abdullah and puts the ball on the ground a lot less often. In today's NFL, where the ability to win in space is at a premium, there's a place for McCaffrey.
McCaffrey may never be a No. 1 running back in the way Todd Gurley and Le'Veon Bell are, but he has too many positive characteristics to leave off the field. Whether he's rushing the ball, catching it or making plays in the return game, he'll be an impact player in 2020.