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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

PFF explains why the 49ers boast the NFL’s best RB unit

Jun 19, 2024 at 9:44 AM

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In addition to being named the cover athlete for Madden NFL 25, Christian McCaffrey was recently hailed as the best running back in the league by Pro Football Focus (PFF). The San Francisco 49ers star is coming off an impressive 2023 campaign in which he led the NFL with 1,459 rushing yards and 2,023 scrimmage yards, earning NFL Offensive Player of the Year honors.

McCaffrey's presence on the roster has propelled the 49ers to the top of Pro Football Focus' recent rankings of the best running back units in the NFL.

"Christian McCaffrey is PFF's top-ranked running back heading into the 2024 season, so it should be no surprise the Niners take the No. 1 spot here," analyst Trevor Sikkema explained. "McCaffrey generated the most PFF wins above average among running backs last season, at 0.25."

Pro Football Focus contributor Thomas Valentine recently noted, "His 339 touches from scrimmage led the league, and despite the lofty workload, his efficiency was excellent. McCaffrey averaged 5.0 yards per carry and caught 67 passes for 564 yards."

San Francisco recently signed McCaffrey to a two-year extension, keeping him under contract through the 2027 season.

"Two years ago, we were ecstatic to welcome Christian McCaffrey to the 49ers," general manager John Lynch said via a statement following the signing. "Since his arrival, he's been everything we thought he would be and more. His versatile skillset has been a seamless fit within our offense. His professionalism and work ethic are as exemplary as I've seen since I've been associated with the NFL."

Backing up McCaffrey are Elijah Mitchell and fourth-round draft pick Isaac Guerendo. Mitchell has proven to be a valuable contributor, averaging 4.7 yards per attempt over his career, though he has struggled with injuries.

Guerendo, the fastest running back at the NFL Scouting Combine and the third-fastest player overall in Indianapolis, clocked a 4.33-second 40-yard dash. The 49ers have high hopes for the first-year player.

"Elijah Mitchell also remains a very solid RB2 option with rookie Isaac Guerendo as the upside RB3," Sikkema continued. "Throw All-Pro fullback Kyle Juszczyk into the list, and the 49ers more than deserve this ranking."

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