It wasn’t too long ago that NFL teams weren’t willing to draft a running back in the first round. But after Zeke Elliott showed what a difference maker can do at the position — and with a draft class STACKED in the backfield, tonight could be a big one for backs.

And for as great as Dalvin Cook was at Florida State, for as freaky as Leonard Fournette is — I’m pushing my chips to the middle and riding with the WILD CAFF.

Because there’s no back in the draft that can do more than Christian McCaffrey. There’s no guy on the board who’s a better true 4-down player, as a runner, as a pass catching weapon out of the backfield or in the slot, as an elite return man on punts and kicks. And for as many skeptics as McCaffrey had heading into the draft process after putting up Tecmo Bowl numbers at Stanford, he’s taken a hammer to all of them, using this offseason to answer basically every question teams had for him — and he did it on his own terms.

We’re a LONG way away from when guys were killing him for sitting out the Sun Bowl. Or for only doing 10 reps on the bench in Indy. Or saying “thanks but no thanks” to individual workouts with teams who were kicking the tires on him. Now there’s a very real chance that McCaffrey is the first guy off the board at his position — a potential top 10 pick for a kid who had to answer questions about his size, his speed, and his true position at the next level when he decided to leave Palo Alto after three years.

Nothing against Fournette, who has been compared to Adrian Peterson. And he may come off the board first. But not if I’m picking him. Fournette will get his as a power back running out of a deep set. You know, just like A.P. but the game has changed dramatically in recent years. Now it’s about playing out of the shotgun, and spreading people out.

And the FUTURE of the position — and NFL offenses look an awful lot like McCaffrey.

McCaffrey’s the guy with a running style like Le’Veon Bell and a shake like Shady McCoy. And for all the questions about his durability and the rap that he’s only a few protein shakes over 200 pounds and gives up 30+ pounds to Fournette, McCaffrey was more durable in college, and had a much higher pitch count. So put that one to bed as well.

Because some team is going to roll the dice on a kid who should have a Heisman on the bookshelf after an insane career at Stanford. And whoever does it gets an instant difference maker with the Wild Caff.

I’m all-in with Christian McCaffrey. Not only do I not buy the raps against the guy, he’s the first one I’m throwing in with. No way this guy is the bust that so many have tried to make him out to be. If I could I’d buy as much stock in this guy as I could.

And as great as he is on the field, he might be even better off it. And while I don’t root, I can’t wait for this guy to get to the NFL and shut all his detractors up.


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