Friday the running backs took the field in Indianapolis to show their talents. That meant timed events such as the 40, shuttles, and 3-cone as well as agility and skills drills. Throughout those events, the man who consistently stood out was Stanford's Christian McCaffrey.
Where he excelled the most was in the ever-important 3-cone drill. The drill designed to show how quick each player's feet are, had McCaffrey among the best ever. As NFL research noted.
286 running backs have participated in the 3-cone drill at the combine since 2003— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) March 3, 2017
Only 1 completed it faster than Christian McCaffrey pic.twitter.com/6oz8yqfuwQ
Along with the timed drills, McCaffrey showed by far the best hands of any of the running backs. He is a technician as a receiver, making it look smooth and effortless. The son of NFL receiver Ed McCaffrey, he certainly inherited his father's skill set as a receiver. But Ed never had the running abilities Christian possesses which made him a 2nd team All American.
The 5-11, 202-pounder was already considered a borderline first rounder and this performance should help considerably.
"I don't think there's anyone else that can do all the things I can as far as running between the tackles, outside pass protect, play X, Z, slot and do a lot of things in the return game as well," said McCaffrey. "I think that's what sets me apart."
"Something I really pride myself on is not just being a running back that can catch the ball but if I move out to the slot, I become a receiver. If I move out to X or Z, I become a receiver and not just a running back. I really try to pride myself on route running, catching and being able to be a mismatch anywhere on the field."
Raiders head coach, Jack Del Rio, is quite familiar with Christian's skill set. He and Jack's son Luke went to high school together and their families go way back.
"It's so surreal," McCaffrey said of his relationship with Jack Del Rio. "Growing up, his son Luke was my quarterback in high school. I remember he was in the stands, with the Broncos, and we would hang out and have dinner with their family. Looking at the Raiders side, looking at the Broncos side, just knowing that there are so many people here that I've grown up knowing, it's pretty surreal that I'm here now as a player."
Even with the familiarity between Del Rio and McCaffrey, the young running back met with the Raiders this week.
"Christian McCaffrey is first of all, an amazing young man," said Del Rio. ". . . I heard the people question whether he'd be able to go from the high school level to the college level and now the questions will come out, ‘Can he go from the college game to the pro game?' And I think you're going to see the same thing. This guy is a great football player and I think he will have an impact in this league."
Here are the top performances in each category by the running backs:
|Logan, TJ||North Carolina||4.37|
|Cohen, Tarik||North Carolina A&T St||4.42|
|Henderson, De'Angelo||Coastal Carolina||4.48|
|Pumphrey, DJ||San Diego St||4.48|
|Cook, Dalvin||Florida St||4.49|
|McNichols, Jeremy||Boise St||4.49|
|Mack, Marlon||South Florida||4.5|
|Fournette, Leonard||Louisiana St||4.51|
|Stevenson, Freddie||Florida St||24|
|Carson, Christopher||Oklahoma St||23|
|Cook, Dalvin||Florida St||22|
|Shell, Rushel||West Virginia||21|
|Henderson, De'Angelo||Coastal Carolina||20|
|Carson, Christopher||Oklahoma St||37|
|Mack, Marlon||South Florida||35.5|
|McNichols, Jeremy||Boise St||35.5|
|Carson, Christopher||Oklahoma St||130|
|Mack, Marlon||South Florida||125|
|Williams, Jamaal||Brigham Young||123|
|McNichols, Jeremy||Boise St||121|
|Logan, TJ||North Carolina||121|
|McNichols, Jeremy||Boise St||6.93|
|Williams, Jamaal||Brigham Young||7.25|
|Hood, Elijah||North Carolina||4.18|
|McNichols, Jeremy||Boise St||4.28|