At this time of year, draft talk and mock drafts are swirling everywhere and a new name has arisen. Could Christian McCaffrey from Stanford be the new bell cow for the Buccaneers?
Heading into the 2017 NFL off-season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a huge question at running back considering the issues that Doug Martin has brought to the team. Not only has the “Muscle-Hamster” been injury prone throughout his career (and once again this season), but he has been suspended for a positive PED test.
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Martin would be inactive for the team for the first three games of the season due to his suspension, which is an obvious carry over from the previous season’s test. Now with Martin’s suspension… it has also opened a door for the Bucs in a positive way.
His suspension takes from him all the guaranteed money in his newly signed contract, which is great news for General Manager Jason Licht. This would make it easy for the team to simply let Martin walk… which may be the case.
Jacquizz Rodgers was able to step in this season for the depleted running back group for the Bucs and have quite the successful season. Rodgers will be a high priority to be re-signed by the team, but that does not end the work Licht will have.
Charles Sims III was drafted in the third round of the 2014 draft to eventually take the reins from Martin, but has only essentially looked like a third down back. Sims has been stellar in the pass game, but once Martin was originally injured, Sims had little success as the bell cow.
Enter Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey is a running back that has recently been over shadowed by backs such as Leonard Fournette and Dalvin Cook in this year’s draft class, but none the less has the potential to be something special.
McCaffrey, who was a runner up for the 2015 Heisman (He should have won, and it is not even close), has been the best all around back in the nation since he arrived at Stanford.
McCaffrey is a stat freak and it is obvious by this table. Throughout his career he has averaged a whopping 6.2 yards per carry, and has also been a huge threat in the passing game. What makes McCaffrey so special is his dual threat abilities, essentially making him the closest metaphor to a Swiss Army Knife in college football.
I personally have written about a multitude of running backs in this year’s draft class, explaining how each one fit for the Bucs, but there is no running back that fits the mold of a Dirk Koetter back than McCaffrey.
I chose the UCLA game to include in this article, because I believe it really represents what McCaffrey could bring to the Bucs. His vision is what sticks out the most on tape… he has the patience to wait for the holes to develop and with his vision finds the best running lane possible.
To go along with that is his speed and agility. Now although McCaffrey is not a bruising back, he has sneaky speed where he can easily leave defenders in the dust or by beating them with the best agility I have seen out of a college running back prospect.
McCaffrey does some negatives though but none bigger than his size. Now, not every running back needs to be that big bodied back, but McCaffrey does lack the power to break through tackles. If he can not beat you with his agility, he will lower his head into you to try to gain extra yardage.
Right now, the Bucs sit at the 19th overall draft spot and the question on who they could be targeting has been really up in the air. Many believe the running back spot is the biggest area of concern, but I personally see them as going with the best available player.
I have selected OJ Howard from Alabama in various mock drafts for the Bucs, but it is starting to seem that he may be selected earlier than the Bucs pick as of now. So does that mean McCaffrey is next? No.
The obvious homework needs to be done on any draft pick in any round, but especially the selection in the first round. If McCaffrey is still sitting there at 19, and Coach Dirk Koetter sees him as the ideal fit for his offense (which it sure does seem it) then they may just pull the trigger.
A possible trade back is always something the Bucs may need to consider. Not many experts have McCaffrey sneaking into the top 20, which could help the Bucs acquire some more selections in later rounds by trading back.
I personally can see McCaffrey joining the pewter and red in the coming months if his stock continues to rise. The 2017 running back position for your Tampa Bay Bucs is fully up in the air… is this where it falls?
What do you think Buc fans? Like what I have to say? If so follow me on Twitter and we can talk about anything Bucs. Siege the day.