Christian McCaffrey should not be overlooked in the 2017 NFL Draft, especially as he would allow the Jacksonville Jaguars to get creative on offense.
If there was one word to describe the Jacksonville Jaguars offense since the end of the David Garrard era, it would be “vanilla.” Offensive coordinators like Greg Olson, Jedd Fisch, and Bob Bratkowski were not even footnotes in an era that featured “gurus” and “masterminds” like Chip Kelly, Jim Harbaugh, Sean Payton, and Kyle Shanahan.
To say the Jags were completely passed over in the offensive frenzy that was the NFL’s pass-happy heyday would be completely accurate.
The most creative the Jags have appeared in at least half a decade occurred in 2016 after Nathaniel Hackett took over for Olson following his mid-season dismissal. The Marqise Lee to Blake Bortles touchdown showed that the Jags may finally be willing to take some risks on new, creative offensive ideas.
Trick. Gimmick. Whatever word you have for that, it was the most exciting the Jags have looked on offense in ages.
Bringing in more players that can make the Jags offense inventive and creative should be a priority. Making a clean break from the blandness that has led to descriptive terms like “anemic” for the offense needs to happen. A player like Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey helps make that happen.
Already highlighted in our look at standout running backs, McCaffrey continues to get love before the 2017 NFL Draft. Pro Football Focus’ recent in-depth scouting review of McCaffrey was particularly promising. Comparing McCaffrey to Marshall Falk, PFF highlights his versatility in a more flexible, innovative “Mike Martz-type” offense:
"McCaffrey’s unique skill-set is reminiscent of Marshall Faulk’s versatility and ability to play wide receiver — as well as a wide receiver does — in addition to playing running back. If McCaffrey can find a Mike Martz-type of innovative offensive coordinator he could make a big impact in the NFL."
More from Black and Teal
- 3 potential trade partners for Jacksonville Jaguars CB Shaquill Griffin
- Jaguars should explore trading for Michael Thomas amid Calvin Ridley suspension
- Jacksonville Jaguars named best fit for CB James Bradberry in 2023 NFL free agency
- Jacksonville Jaguars TE Evan Engram highlights discrepancy in WR and TE salaries
- Jacksonville Jaguars land DeAndre Hopkins in trade proposal to stop the KC Chiefs
While the Jacksonville Jaguars are certainly not a Mike Martz-type offense, the team could throw in more Martz-type wrinkles with a player like McCaffrey. The Jags would finally have a talent on the team that is proven to be flexible, unlike “offensive weapon” Denard Robinson that was unproven and couldn’t adapt to the NFL.
This should be taken as advocacy for taking McCaffrey fourth overall, there are better players to take there, but it should be taken as advocacy for keeping an eye on McCaffrey. Whether he’s worth dipping back into the first round for is unclear at this point, but the top of the second round certainly would seem like relatively decent value.
Sometimes a higher price is worth paying for a player who can shake the Jags out of their vanilla rut.