The Carolina Panthers took a versatile tailback in Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey at No. 8. Here is the Panthers’ overall grade for the 2017 NFL Draft.
The Carolina Panthers used seven picks in the 2017 NFL Draft to get better as a football team. They decided that the best course of action early in the draft was to get franchise quarterback Cam Newton some better weapons.
Carolina certainly got a Swiss Army knife in Stanford Cardinal running back Christian McCaffrey. The Panthers used their No. 8 overall pick on the former Pac-12 standout. In typical David Gettleman fashion, the Panthers general manager doubled-down with another weapon of sorts in Curtis Samuel with his second selection. Carolina looks to bounce back from a bad 2016 campaign. Here’s how they did in the 2017 NFL Draft.
McCaffrey was the right choice for the Panthers to make at No. 8. The selection became abundantly clear once the Jacksonville Jaguars took LSU Tigers running back Leonard Fournette at No. 4. These were the two blue-chip running back talents in this draft. It’s no surprise they both went top-10.
While he’s never going to be a bell-cow back that is going to pound the rock up the middle, McCaffrey is a playmaker that can be used in a variety of ways to help the Panthers offense. He is a supreme pass catcher out of the backfield and can be a factor on special teams. McCaffrey was the best player in the Pac-12 post-Marcus Mariota for crying out loud.
Though he does come with a bit of the Reggie Bush prototype stigma, McCaffrey’s game is better suited to the modern NFL game than Bush’s was over a decade ago. Given that the Panthers have had the same offensive coordinator since Newton’s arrival in Charlotte in 2011 in Mike Shula, he’s sure to have had his say in the Panthers’ decision to take McCaffrey at No. 8.
Carolina expects McCaffrey to make an immediate impact to their offense. If he plays like Newton did in 2011, that’s fantastic. However, if he waffles out of the gate like Kelvin Benjamin, then some might question taking McCaffrey in the top-10.