NFL Draft 2017: Christian McCaffrey's 5 best fits include Eagles, Raiders

Christian McCaffrey is a first-round running back prospect, and he might even be the second RB drafted next month. Here are the five teams that might select him.

Christian McCaffrey got snubbed for the Heisman Trophy after being one of college football's most dynamic players. The Stanford running back prospect is getting his revenge with his rapidly rising stock for the 2017 NFL Draft.

Once thought to be the consensus No. 3 back in the class, McCaffrey has gained ground on LSU's Leonard Fournette in mock drafts, now being taken ahead of Florida State's Dalvin Cook in many of them. That has taken McCaffrey from fringe first-rounder to a surefire top 32 overall pick.

Although that means his perfect NFL team won't be able to draft him — the Patriots no longer have a first-round pick — there are still several excellent fits for his services.

Based on selection, need and what McCaffrey can do for their offenses, here are the five best bets.

WATCH: McCaffrey Pro Day highlights

NFL Draft 2017: Christian McCaffrey's 5 best fits

Philadelphia Eagles

(Pick No. 14)

Philadelphia is likely to address one of two positions in the first round — running back or cornerback. Those draft values line up well with the team's upper-half selection.

If the Eagles go offensive backfield, it will be a tough decision between McCaffrey and Cook. So far the theme of the offseason has been giving quarterback Carson Wentz playmaker upgrades for Year 2, led by the signing of wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith. McCaffrey offers the right combination of tough running, versatility and explosiveness for Doug Pederson's West Coast-tinged scheme.

Drafting McCaffrey would allow the Eagles to move on from Ryan Mathews. Darren Sproles has defied his age as a scatback, but he's slowed down a bit in the punt return game, and the Eagles could use a new gamebreaker on kickoffs.


Indianapolis Colts

(Pick No. 15)

It doesn't hurt that Indianapolis has another prominent Stanford product in quarterback Andrew Luck, but McCaffrey's appeal to the team goes well beyond a Cardinal connection. He's built to do many of the things Frank Gore, soon to be 34, does for the Colts' offense, only with fresh legs.

Beyond the early-down pop McCaffrey would provide, he'd become an additional go-to receiver behind T.Y. Hilton, a perfect underneath outlet for a high-volume, downfield passing game. His speed would look sleek on the Lucas Oil Stadium turf right along with their other quick, fast skill players.

Denver Broncos

(Pick No. 20)

Denver can't ignore the son of its one-time All-Pro wide receiver, Ed, given that the older McCaffrey and John Elway won two Super Bowls together as a smooth Stanford combination. The pedigree and familiarity are only part of the reason to at least consider Christian.

Shaky blocking wasn't the only reason the Broncos had the No. 27 rushing attack in the NFL last season with only 3.6 yards per carry. Leading rushers Devontae Booker and C.J. Anderson were tentative running backs and carried durability concerns with decisiveness issues. Neither showed much big-run ability, and both were limited factors in the passing game.

The Broncos need more playmakers for their QB, whether it's Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch or Tony Romo. McCaffrey would be right there behind Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders to drive defenses batty all over the field. New/returning offensive coordinator Mike McCoy would get the combination of what he had in Melvin Gordon and Danny Woodhead in San Diego.

MORE: SN's latest Mock Draft

Oakland Raiders

(Pick No. 24)

Oakland officials, just an hour down the road from Palo Alto, Calif., should have paid close attention to McCaffrey's college career. The Raiders also gave McCaffrey's older brother, former Duke wide receiver Max, a shot as an undrafted free agent last offseason.

So they already have a strong appreciation for what Christian can do, and coach Jack Del Rio has thrown the word "great" his way during the pre-draft process. The Raiders didn't re-sign Latavius Murray, and they have quieted noise that a big-name, fading veteran like Adrian Peterson or retired Marshawn Lynch will be the choice to replace him. There's a good chance that will be a rookie.

They need a back who pound it and score, and McCaffrey fits that bill. His skill set also matches the home-run potential they have in second-year backs Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington. McCaffrey would give Derek Carr an extra game-changer in the passing game who can benefit from the coverage Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree and new tight end Jared Cook draw downfield.

New Orleans Saints

(Pick No. 11 or No. 32)

New Orleans is in play for the hometown hero Fournette, but there's a strong chance he'll be gone before that initial first-rounder. And really, McCaffrey is the better all-around back for the Saints' offense, so the question is: Are they willing and able to a) use that higher pick on him b) trade down from 11th to get him at a more comfortable spot or c) trade up from 32nd to get him before he's gone, too?

The span between the picks also represents the wide range of McCaffrey's current draft value. Having two high picks post-Brandin Cooks gives the Saints a chance to address a defensive need early and also go offensive luxury to address their closing window with Drew Brees at the helm. Given how Mark Ingram disappointed last season, a back of McCaffrey's caliber is more of a necessity than they would like to admit.

McCaffrey would have a big, immediate impact with any role in a loaded, rebooted attack.


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