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Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ Christian McCaffrey tops PFF’s running back ranking

May 27, 2024 at 8:29 AM

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Reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year Christian McCaffrey is widely regarded as the best running back in the NFL, largely due to his versatility. McCaffrey amassed an impressive NFL-leading 2,023 all-purpose yards and 21 total touchdowns this past season, including 564 receiving yards.

The San Francisco 49ers traded for McCaffrey during the 2022 season. The running back has led the team in rushing yards in each of his two seasons with the team, including his abbreviated time in the Bay Area in 2022.

McCaffrey leads the pack as a pure running back, so much so that Pro Football Focus (PFF) ranked him as the best among the NFL's top 32 running backs heading into the 2024 season.

"McCaffrey has been by far and away the most productive running back in the NFL for the past two seasons, and he dominated once again in 2023," wrote Thomas Valentine. "He led the league with a career-high 1,459 rushing yards and added a league-leading 21 total touchdowns in the process, earning a 90.6 grade — the second highest in the NFL."

Seven of McCaffrey's touchdowns came through the air, contributing to an 87.1 receiving grade from the analytics site. That mark ranks 12th among all NFL pass-catchers last season. His quarterbacks had a 115.4 passer rating when throwing in McCaffrey's direction.

"The former Panther was the ultimate workhorse, too," Valentine continued. "His 339 touches from scrimmage led the league, and despite the lofty workload, his efficiency was excellent."

Additionally, McCaffrey's 5.4 rushing yards per attempt led the NFL among running backs with over 120 carries last season. The combination of excellence in carrying the football and proficiency in hauling in passes makes McCaffrey one of the best offensive weapons in the league.

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