Christian McCaffrey was a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses in college with the Stanford Cardinal, and Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart expects that to be the case in the NFL as well.
"I can tell you one thing, there's not going to be anyone in this league that can cover him one-on-one," Stewart said Sunday, per the Charlotte Observer's Joseph Person.
McCaffrey also drew praise from Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly.
"The way he runs, you can tell he's done it a few times," Kuechly said Friday, per ESPN.com's David Newton. "He's very precise with his movements. He's in and out of breaks quick. I think he's going to be somebody that helps us out."
McCaffrey finished his college career with 5,128 yards from scrimmage and 33 total touchdowns. He also amassed 1,859 return yards.
Especially after Carolina selected him with the eighth overall pick, many questioned whether the Panthers can maximize McCaffrey's versatile skill set. Reggie Bush, a similarly gifted running back in college, has played 11 years in the league but failed to become the offensive dynamo some expected after his days with USC.
Granted, McCaffrey played a much larger role in the Cardinal's running game than Bush did for the Trojans. Over their final two seasons in college, McCaffrey and Bush amassed 590 and 343 carries, respectively. Whereas Bush has struggled to become an every-down back in the NFL, that could be less of an issue for McCaffrey.
Bleacher Report's Mike Tanier gave Carolina an "A" grade for selecting McCaffrey in April, writing the 2015 Heisman Trophy runner-up "may be what the next generation of superstar NFL running backs will look like."
Despite having Cam Newton, the 2015 NFL MVP, under center, the Panthers finished 25th in offensive efficiency in 2016, according to Football Outsiders. Between his work in the running and passing games, McCaffrey could be a difference-maker for Carolina in 2017.