Christian McCaffrey Declares for 2017 NFL Draft: Latest Comments and Reaction

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 7, 2016

BERKELEY, CA - NOVEMBER 19:  Christian McCaffrey #5 of the Stanford Cardinal runs with the ball against the California Golden Bears at California Memorial Stadium on November 19, 2016 in Berkeley, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey is set to follow in the footsteps of his father, Ed McCaffrey, as he officially declared for the 2017 NFL draft Wednesday: 

McCaffrey added, on GoStanford.com:

Since I was 6 years old, I've wanted to play in the NFL. It's been on every list of goals that I've ever written. Now, it's time to take that step. There's nothing more I can put on film.

I love Stanford more than anything. It will be extremely hard to leave. I feel humbled and inspired every day by the peers who surround me. I came to Stanford because I wanted to be challenged more than I ever have in my life. And that desire is shared by everyone who walks on this campus, by people who literally will change the world.

[...]

As I walked off for the last time as a Stanford player, I realized how much I owe this university for how much it's given me. Stanford has taught me more about overcoming adversity and focusing and finishing than I could ever know, and I will carry those lessons forever.

McCaffrey is coming off two of the most impressive offensive seasons in Cardinal history, including 1,603 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns in 2016 as a junior.

While his numbers were down in comparison to a 2015 campaign that saw him finish second in Heisman Trophy voting, it was nearly impossible to live up to the 2,019 rushing yards, 645 receiving yards and 13 offensive touchdowns he put up.

McCaffrey got off to a strong start in 2016 with at least 126 rushing yards in each of his first three games and four total touchdowns during that span. However, over the next month, he failed to crack the 100-yard barrier and didn't score a touchdown in three contests.

The Colorado native also missed a game due to an undisclosed injury, which likely contributed to his lack of production.

McCaffrey came to life in late October and went on a tear to end the season, however, including a 284-yard rushing effort with three touchdowns in a win over California.

That run gave him a ton of momentum entering the draft evaluation process.

Although McCaffrey had a spectacular campaign, his midseason struggles could have damaged his draft stock had he not bounced back. Suffering another injury as a senior is a risk he would have assumed had he returned to school.

McCaffrey has NFL pedigree, as his dad spent 13 years in the league and was a Pro Bowler and three-time Super Bowl champion, including two with the Denver Broncos.

That figures to work in McCaffrey's favor, as will the fact that he is a do-it-all back capable of playing on every down and contributing in the return game.

His ability to run both between and outside the tackles—as well as create mismatches in the passing game—makes him a possible first-round pick, and that was reason enough to take the leap.

     

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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