In today’s NFL, running backs are expected to be capable of handling a workload that involves carrying and catching the football. One running back who does those things better than most is Christian McCaffrey of the Carolina Panthers.
The Panthers drafted McCaffrey in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft in hopes he could become a lethal weapon for Cam Newton. Coming out of Stanford, McCaffrey was an electric athlete and was used as a workhorse running back.
As a matter of fact, the Panthers running back had 672 total touches, 4,577 yards from scrimmage, and 29 touchdowns in his last two seasons in college. Now, he assumes the same role for Carolina and the Panthers offense.
In 2017, McCaffrey flashed his potential in the offense with 80 receptions for 651 yards and five touchdowns. Due to Jonathan Stewart being the main starting running back, McCaffrey was only given 117 carries in 2017. That all changed last season after the Panthers decided to part ways with Stewart.
The keys to the rushing offense were given to McCaffrey and he ran away with them in 2018. Now, coming into 2019, the expectations are even higher for the third-year running back. Here are three numbers to target for McCaffrey in 2019.
3. 250 Carries
As McCaffrey continues to bulk up, Ron Rivera and the Panthers will likely increase McCaffrey’s workload in the running game. Since coming into the NFL, McCaffrey has made it a focus of his to get stronger and bigger as a running back.
This offseason, the Panthers running back said he is “way stronger” than he was last year. Last offseason, McCaffrey noticeably added more muscle to his frame to help himself as a player.
Earlier this offseason, Carolina’s official Twitter account posted a picture of McCaffrey and the running back looks like he works out with D.K. Metcalf.
2️⃣2️⃣ coming for it all 😤 pic.twitter.com/WQRIttO1qQ
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) April 30, 2019
In his third season with the Panthers, McCaffrey will likely be handed the ball more than he has been so far in his career. Therefore, it’s plausible to expect at least 250 carries out of the electric running back in 2019.
2. 15 Total Touchdowns
The Panthers lost Devin Funchess this offseason which leaves opportunities for everyone in the Panthers offense to see more scoring opportunities. D.J. Moore may be the number one receiver but McCaffrey is arguably the most dangerous receiving threat in Carolina.
In McCaffrey’s two seasons in the NFL, the Panthers ball-carrier has caught 11 touchdowns in the two seasons combined. McCaffrey will likely have at least five receiving touchdowns but his rushing touchdowns should see a slight increase in 2019.
Last year, McCaffrey had seven rushing touchdowns for the Panthers. But he should see more goal-line work with no immediate threats in the offense to vulture carries—besides Newton.
As a result, McCaffrey could have a career-year in terms of touchdowns with at least 15 of them in 2019.
1. 2,000 Yards From Scrimmage
The NFL’s top-tier running backs are all guys who are dual-threat backs for their respective teams. Among all of the elite running backs, McCaffrey was third in the NFL in scrimmage yards in 2018.
The only two running backs ahead of McCaffrey were Saquon Barkley with 2,028 yards and Ezekiel Elliott with 2,001 yards from scrimmage. McCaffrey finished just short of 2,000 yards from scrimmage with an impressive 1,965 yards.
Carolina realizes what type of talent that McCaffrey possesses and will continue to utilize him to the best of their ability. As the Notorious B.I.G said “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems”, for McCaffrey it is “Mo’ Touches, Mo’ Scrimmage Yards”.
We don’t know if McCaffrey can rap like Biggie but nonetheless, McCaffrey is becoming one of the best at his craft like Biggie once was. The Panthers star running back is due for a phenomenal season and could eclipse 2,000 yards from scrimmage for the first time in his young career.