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Article posted April 24, 2017 at 2:07 PM
By Tyler Conway
Darryl Rudolph, the father of NFL draft prospect and former Florida State receiver Travis Rudolph, died in an accidental shooting at a strip club in Florida.
According to a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office statement obtained by Safid Deen of the Orlando Sentinel, Darryl Rudolph was shot while making repairs at a club. Deen reports “the gunshot came from an adjacent room when another coworker was moving a firearm off of a shelf.”
Police are still investigating the case but do not believe the shooting was intentional.
Read more NFL news on BleacherReport.com
Article posted April 24, 2017 at 1:57 PM
By Brian Campbell Despite troubles with the law, Broner eyes pay-per-view bout against Terence Crawford
Article posted April 24, 2017 at 1:40 PM
By Jared Dubin The former Bucs and Raiders star only sees ‘splash plays’ with the Texas A&M defensive end
Article posted April 24, 2017 at 1:30 PM
Then, shortly after the mandatory hug with Commissioner Roger Goodell, he’ll also be called a pass-catcher. As graphics whiz across whatever screen you’re watching the draft on, analysts will no doubt rave about his pass-catching ability.
They’ll likely tell you about McCaffrey’s fluid movements in the open field and how his nimble footwork after the catch led to 1,206 receiving yards over three years at Stanford, with a single-season high of 645 yards on 45 catches in 2015.
But as the screen shows highlights of him juking, weaving and generally being slippery, remember that McCaffrey himself doesn’t want to merely be known as a running back. He also prefers a different title instead of pass-catcher.
He’s not just a running back who can catch and be effective when removed from the backfield. When he leaves and is in the slot or even split to the outside, McCaffrey is a wide receiver.
“Something I really pride myself on is not just being a running back that can catch the ball, but if I move out to the slot, I become a receiver,” McCaffrey told ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky earlier this month. “If I move out to X or Z, I become a receiver and not just a running back. I really try to pride myself on route running, catching and being able to be a mismatch anywhere on the field.”
That’s more than an attitude or a mental trick. It defines McCaffrey’s approach to football; you can see it in how he functions with the ball in his hands, regardless of how it gets there.
An ability to morph from running back to receiver and back again has fueled the buzz around McCaffrey. Now, days before the draft and after months of being scrutinized under a magnifying glass, this sky-high projection for McCaffrey is coming into focus: He’s a top-10 talent.
That’s true even with LSU’s Leonard Fournette already projected to occupy top-10 territory and more likely the top five. In an era when the running back position is still devalued, McCaffrey could easily rise to join Fournette. If he does, it’ll happen because a team ignored any concerns about his 5’11”, 202-pound size, with his ability to create yardage and mismatches from anywhere, at any time, easily trumping them.
How does he do it? Everything with him—from his quick cutting as a runner to his field reversal after the catch—comes back to his lightning-fast feet.
The 20-year-old’s vision and his intricate footwork are the foundational skills he used to pile up 5,128 yards from scrimmage for the Cardinal.
His collegiate career was highlighted by 2,019 rushing yards in 2015 and, more importantly, an NCAA record-setting 3,864 all-purpose yards that same season as he eclipsed Barry Sanders’ record by a mind-numbing 614 yards. The 2015 Heisman Trophy runner-up also became the first player in the Rose Bowl’s storied history to finish with 100-plus rushing and receiving yards.
He’s a three-way threat and ended that season among the top five in rushing yards and kick return yards. Injuries slowed him at times in 2016, but he still posted 1,913 yards from scrimmage while missing two games.
He can do everything and at a high level.
McCaffrey was always in the first-round conversation because of his deep skill set.
But there has been some apprehension tied to his size. He’s a little undersized, leading to concerns he may not be able to withstand the punishment of a full-time NFL role. Being an every-down running back is the most basic but essential bar for an early-first-round pick at the position to clear.
Those concerns still hover around McCaffrey, but it feels like they’ve faded to some degree. Perhaps teams at the top of the draft are becoming more open-minded, seeing the opportunity for creativity McCaffrey provides. He doesn’t need to fit into some rigid and dated definition of what a feature back looks like.
McCaffrey doesn’t need to line up and slam into walls of humanity multiple times every game. Instead, he brings far more to an offense when used throughout the formation while still getting 20-plus touches every week.
Or maybe, as McCaffrey’s talent is studied more closely, running back-needy teams will realize they just need to get him on their roster and figure out the rest later. It could be a bit of both, but either way, his draft arrow is undoubtedly pointing north.
McCaffrey turned down all private workout requests from teams, according to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, and Draft Analyst’s Tony Pauline reported why. Per Pauline, a franchise selecting in the teens gave McCaffrey a guarantee, telling him it would take him if he’s still on the board when it picks.
That already puts the floor for McCaffrey at about the middle of the opening round. The leap from there to the top 10 isn’t far, and it doesn’t take much dot-connecting to see the likely landing spot.
The conclusion to draw from the latest round of mock drafts is an easy one and also probably the right one:
The Carolina Panthers hold the No. 8 pick and desperately need to upgrade their backfield. Quarterback Cam Newton has to get more support than the 3.8 yards per carry Jonathan Stewart (now 30 years old) provided in 2016.
That’s why Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller has McCaffrey projected to land with the Panthers. And why Rob Rang of CBSSports.com wrote the same in his latest mock. And why two of the six analysts at NFL.com also have McCaffrey ticketed for Carolina.
If the Panthers decide to go in another direction with their first-round pick, then McCaffrey will fall out of the top 10 but not far—and not because of his talent. Needs elsewhere among the first 10 teams will push him a few slots back and likely to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Former Eagle and current radio analyst Ike Reese can’t get his mind off McCaffrey, a feeling that’s surely shared throughout the city:
Ryan Mathews is sitting atop the Eagles’ running back depth chart. He’s an oft-injured 29-year-old who’s recovering from a serious neck injury. The Eagles are due to pay Mathews a non-guaranteed $4 million in 2017, according to Spotrac, making him a prime post-draft cut candidate if Philly can find the right solution.
McCaffrey can be that guy. He can be the solution for any offensive coaching staff willing to use its imagination and place him in situations best suited for his skill set. The Eagles may be a better fit because of the West Coast concepts in head coach Doug Pederson’s offense and the screens scattered throughout his playbook that will put McCaffrey in space.
Although McCaffrey will be wasted by an offense that doesn’t take advantage of his pass-catching talents, he’s not a one-dimensional outside runner and is capable of muscling his way up the middle when needed.
Any perception of McCaffrey as a running back who can’t churn out yards that require elbow grease is easily shot down by what he did when opposing defenses loaded up against him. As Graham Barfield of Rotoworld noted, McCaffrey was one of only three running backs in the 2017 class to face eight-plus men in the box on over half his carries.
He led that group in yards created on those attempts:
Yards created is a metric that essentially attempts to answer this question: Can a running back create yards for himself beyond what the offensive line is giving or not giving him?
That’s a critical question to ask and answer when evaluating the position and a difficult one. There are so many variables out of a running back’s control and so many intricate moving parts to each running play.
Even the most talented runners can be helpless when the blocking scheme is blown up in front of them. But how often can they turn those seemingly lost plays into positive gains through their own speed, elusiveness or vision? And how often do they capitalize on solid blocking by making a few defenders miss in the open field and turning an already nice gain into a home run play?
McCaffrey checks all of those boxes, and in 2016, he did it while using his lower-body strength to power through tackles and average 3.30 yards after contact per attempt, according to Pro Football Focus. McCaffrey forced 43 missed tackles as a runner last season too.
He’s the Ferrari of the draft at his position, while Fournette is the bizarrely fast 18-wheeler. He can run like a running back, catch and run routes like a wide receiver and return kicks like a specialist.
He shouldn’t be pigeonholed into one assignment and asked to be a conventional running back who plows away each week. Using McCaffrey in that way would be a crime against football innovation and creativity. It would be ignoring the broad appeal of a wide and unique skill set.
It would be wasting a player who could become a generational talent while redefining what it means to be a multipurpose, pass-catching running back.
Read more NFL news on BleacherReport.com
Article posted April 24, 2017 at 1:27 PM
By Jason La Canfora Expect four QBs to come off the board and for Reuben Foster not to fall out of the first round