If Christian McCaffrey is available when the Denver Broncos make their first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, should they pull the trigger or draft for need?
We are in the home stretch with the 2017 NFL Draft less than 20 days away. It’s time to review all possible options for the Denver Broncos first-round selection. Will they spend a premium on a running back and draft Christian McCaffrey, or will they fill another position of need?
McCaffrey, who is considered one of the top running back prospects in this draft class, rushed for a total of 3,622 yards and 21 touchdowns combined his sophomore and junior seasons. He is also considered one of the top receiving backs with 99 receptions for 1,206 yards and 10 touchdowns over the course of his collegiate career.
His ability to efficiently catch the ball out of the backfield could make him a tremendous asset for the Broncos. McCaffrey is an impeccable route runner and he could be utilized in multiple different sets and formations, making him a valuable chess piece for the offense.
Not only was he one of the most productive running backs in college football, but he is also one of the most athletic running back prospects in this draft class. By testing with a 4.48-second 40-yard dash and a 6.57-second 3-cone while weighing 202 pounds at the combine, McCaffrey proved that he is one of the most athletic running back prospects in this class. He has enough speed to break away from the defense in the open field and enough short area quickness to make defenders miss in one-on-one situations.
What makes McCaffrey enticing is that he’s labeled a “can’t miss” prospect and the odds of him becoming a bust are very limited. This adds value to his draft stock because he will be considered a safer option compared to some of the players left on the board when it’s time for the Broncos to make their first-round selection. There are very few prospects deserving of this title and there are usually less than five prospects in every draft class that are considered bust-proof.
On the contrary, this year’s running back class is stocked with talent and the Broncos could draft a talented running back later in the draft. With the talent pool being deep at the position, the Broncos have the liberty to sit and wait until the right point in the draft to snag a solid running back.
Do the Broncos even need to draft a running back? They drafted Devontae Booker in the fourth round of last year’s draft. If you don’t remember, Booker was a blue chip running back prospect who rushed 2,773 yards and 21 touchdowns combined during his junior and senior seasons. He’s a young, talented player who has the ability to be the team’s starting running back if given the opportunity.
Don’t forget about C.J. Anderson, the team’s Pro Bowl running back in 2014. Injuries caused him to play in just seven games last season, rushing for only 437 yards and four touchdowns. When healthy, he can be the heart beat of the Broncos offense.
With the combination of Anderson and Booker in the backfield, it’s hard to make the case for spending a premium draft pick on a running back. The team already has plenty of talent at the position, so why log jam the roster with another running back on the depth chart? Spending a first-round pick on McCaffrey might not be a wise choice since the team needs to address other positions of need.
There’s also a chance that McCaffrey isn’t available when it’s the Broncos turn to draft, making the debate of whether the team should draft him obsolete. It’s in the realm of possibilities that he could end up being a top-15 draft pick, causing him to not be on the board when it’s the Broncos turn to make a selection. Moving up a few spots in the draft in order to snag him wouldn’t be economical since that would require a large amount of capital to move up in the first round. It’s hard to justify that choice when you know there are going to be talented backs later in the draft.
Without a doubt, you could make the case that McCaffrey is one of the safest options in this draft class. He’s one of the best running back prospects to come out for the draft in the last few years. He has a versatile skill set and can do just about everything you need him to do on the football field. If the Broncos want to play it safe and make sure they’re spending their first-round pick on a player that can contribute right away, then McCaffrey could easily be their choice.