A Case for Christian McCaffrey to the Cincinnati Bengals
There is no denying that a team who finished 6-9-1 in the 2016 season, has a lot of needs to address. The Bengals have a clear need to improve defensively, particularly at the defensive end position. The team struggled to run the ball last year and have been rumored to have interest in running backs Leonard Fournette and Joe Mixon, and many would like to see them add a receiving threat. While there will be a wealth of talent available to the Bengals at the ninth overall selection, if they truly want to add a dynamic playmaker to their offense they should look no farther than Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey.
At 5’11” 202 Christian McCaffrey is not the biggest back in the game, but he is one of the most explosive. He impressed at the combine, both in drills and testing running a 4.48 forty and a 4.22 shuttle while vertical jumping 37.5 inches. In his three year career at Stanford, McCaffrey ran for 3,922 yards averaging 6.2 yards per carry and scoring 21 touchdowns. He also caught 99 passes for 1,206 and was an excellent kickoff and punt returner. McCaffrey combined these skills for 6,987 all-purpose yards and 33 touchdowns.
The Bengals were disappointed with the performance of running backs Jeremy Hill and Giovanni Bernard last season. Hill carried the load with 222 carries but only rushed for 839 yards on the season. Bernard ran the ball 91 times for 337 yards and added 39 receptions for 336 yards. Both had injury issues last season particularly Bernard who suffered a torn ACL. This only adds to the concern for the future of this position.
The Bengals love players who are productive and important to their team. It would be hard to find a player who was a bigger part of his team over the last two years than Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey is a dynamic playmaker who could change the Bengals offense. McCaffrey gives them a much more versatile playmaker than anyone else they could find in the draft. He has the speed and quickness to make would be tacklers miss and can turn any play into a big play. His skill as a receiver not only makes him a three-down-back, but with his speed he can line up wide and spread the field taking pressure off of A.J. Green. This would give the Bengals a dimension in the passing game they haven’t had since Marvin Jones.
While the Bengals will be in a position to draft nearly any of the top running backs or receivers none have the ability to change the offense the way Christian McCaffrey does. McCaffrey has a unique skill set that will make him a star in the NFL. Chances to lock up an athlete of his caliber do not come around very often.