Round 2: RB/WR Christian McCaffrey, Stanford (6’1 | 200 | 4.48)
The Bears would need some luck for McCaffrey to fall into the 2nd round, but it’s not as far-fetched as you might think. Multiple respected draft sites (CBS, NFL, Walterfootball) have McCaffery as a 1st-2nd round pick and with the Bears picking early in the 2nd, that puts him right in their range. A few NFL insiders like Matt Miller, Walter Chepinski, and Bob Mcmanaman) also have McCaffrey slipping past the Bears 2nd round pick in their most recent mocks.
Even the analysts and draft sites that have McCaffrey going in the first round usually have him being selected by the Patriots with one of the last picks in the first round. With the Bears picking early in round two, it’s not much of a stretch to project him falling a few more picks. The main reason being that McCaffrey doesn’t really have a clear position in the NFL.
He’s not big enough to be an every-down back at the next level and he hasn’t yet proven that he can play in the slot consistently. What McCaffrey projects as is a third down back who can be moved around the field and also be a weapon as a returner.
That type of player is rarely drafted in the first round. The only semi-comparable first round pick in recent history was Percy Harvin, who went 22nd in 2009. Running backs just aren’t selected often in the first round and third-down type backs are even rarer that early.
That’s not a knock on McCaffrey at all, who I think will be a legitimate weapon in the NFL. His best role may be as a jack-of-all-trades on offense; a third-down back, a slot receiver, and a return specialist. Or… three things that the Chicago Bears really need.
If head coach John Fox is determined to run a two back offense, the Bears may as well get an explosive 2nd back who complements Howard well (insult intended, Langford). McCaffrey would be an ideal complement to Jordan Howard out of the backfield, can play on the field at the same time as a slot receiver, and could be a dangerous kick and punt returner. He may not be able to hold up to a full workload at running back, but with 10-15 touches per game he could be an impact player.
McCaffrey is one of the smoothest runners I’ve seen in years with the ability to change direction without losing any speed, an extra gear in the open field to run by defenders, elite vision, and natural hands as a receiver and return man.
The Bears have plenty of other needs, but getting more explosive on offense should be high on their list and there may not be a more explosive player with the ball in his hands than McCaffrey. I have my doubts about OC Dowell Loggains being smart enough to utilize McCaffrey correctly, but Loggains won’t be around long.
*McCaffrey is the perfect fit the Pats who will be picking a few spots ahead of the Bears, but it’s impossible to predict who Belichick and the Pats will take. They may need a front-seven defensive player more (fingers-crossed).
*Also considered: QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson; CB Sidney Jones, Washington; CB Cordrea Tankersley, Clemson; Best DB available; RB/WR Curtis Samuel, Ohio St