INDIANAPOLIS — Former Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey was one of the most productive players in recent college football history, rushing for more than 3,600 total yards over the past two years.
But while the 2015 Heisman finalist’s legs are clearly more than capable of carrying a heavy load, his arms and chest may be a different story.
On Thursday, McCaffrey took part in the bench press drill at the NFL Combine and registered 10 reps at 225 pounds — impressive, perhaps, at your local gym, but not so much by Combine standards.
Of the 30 running backs who participated, the only one who hoisted the bar fewer than 10 times was diminutive San Diego State star Donnel Pumphrey, who managed five. Pumphrey, incidentally, is the only FBS back to rush for more yards than McCaffrey since the start of the 2015 season.
At last year’s Combine, only one running back, Alabama’s Kenyan Drake (10), posted fewer than 12 reps.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine, who is the same height as McCaffrey (5-foot-11) but is 31 pounds heavier at 233 pounds, cranked out 30 reps, six more than the next closest player in the running back/fullback group.
Meanwhile, LSU’s Leonard Fournette, who checked in at 240 pounds in his official weigh-in, did not participate in the bench press at the Combine, but has indicated that he plans on doing so at his Pro Day on April 5 in Baton Rouge.
As for McCaffrey, the 20-year-old has received rave reviews from several NFL coaches and executives, including Denver Broncos GM John Elway, who on Wednesday called him a “dynamic player who can do it all,” and Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio, who described him as a “great football player” who will “have an impact in this league.”
Nevertheless, McCaffrey spoke with reporters about feeling slighted when he met with the press earlier Thursday afternoon, prior to his bench press attempt.
“I feel like a lot of people don’t give me credit for my skills and talents, and that’s just the way it is,” said McCaffrey, a potential Day One pick in April’s draft. “But I also don’t really care too much. I don’t feel like I’m crazy disrespected. I have a chip on my shoulder at all times, and that’s been my whole life. I’m constantly trying to prove myself.”
Consider this a little more fuel for the fire.
You can follow Sam Gardner on Twitter or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.