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Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

“He does everything exceptionally”: Execs, coaches, scouts name 49ers’ Christian McCaffrey as NFL’s top RB

Jul 8, 2024 at 9:41 AM

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Christian McCaffrey is coming off another stellar season, contributing 2,023 scrimmage yards and 21 total touchdowns to a San Francisco 49ers offense brimming with talent. The running back has cemented himself as a versatile workhorse in head coach Kyle Shanahan's scheme, rushing for an NFL-leading and career-high 1,459 yards last season.

McCaffrey earned NFL Offensive Player of the Year honors and has garnered significant respect among his peers since his arrival via trade from the Carolina Panthers.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler recently surveyed nearly 80 league executives, coaches, and scouts, asking them to rank the NFL's top 10 running backs. McCaffrey secured the top spot on the list, impressively earning more than 80 percent of the first-place votes.

This marks a one-spot jump from last year's ranking, when Nick Chubb of the Cleveland Browns was the top-ranked back. Chubb has since dropped to No. 3 on the list, behind Breece Hall of the New York Jets.

Fowler notes that McCaffrey consistently gained positive yards before (888) and after contact (571), proving how difficult it is to stop the running back.

"The 49ers got 5.6 yards per carry when giving McCaffrey the ball on first downs," Fowler commented. "Inside the tackles, McCaffrey averaged 4.9 yards per carry, fourth among running backs."

McCaffrey's 564 receiving yards and seven receiving touchdowns further highlight his versatility, making him one of the most dynamic and challenging players to defend in the NFL.

"He does everything exceptionally," a veteran NFL offensive coach with experience coaching McCaffrey told Fowler. "Explosiveness, vision, technique, versatility, great teammate, hardest worker, dedicated in the offseason. The only thing holding him back was when he was hurt. But he's exactly how you would draw up a football player."

In 2022, the 49ers traded second, third, and fourth-round draft picks in 2023, plus a fifth-rounder in 2024 to the Panthers for McCaffrey. It was a hefty price, but it has paid off well for San Francisco.

A player-personnel executive stated, "San Francisco made one of the best trades of the decade when they got him [in 2022]. He's perfect for what they do."
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