Christian McCaffrey is barely one week into his first NFL training camp, but the Carolina Panthers rookie running back is already turning plenty of heads.
McCaffrey turned a few more Wednesday when he put perennial All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly on roller skates during one drill. Individual drills generally put the defensive player at a significant disadvantage, but these were still some video game moves from the rookie. And remember, this is one of the NFL’s best players trying to tackle him.
McCaffrey got Luke with the juke moves pic.twitter.com/q7IA1s6EU0
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) August 2, 2017
McCaffrey’s presence in the Panther backfield is a welcome addition. He is a highly versatile back who can really catch the football, as well as run – both inside and out. And it hasn’t taken long for teammates and coaches to recognize just how talented the 21-year-old Stanford product really is.
Three-time Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen is excited to watch opponents try to tackle him.
“He has a good look in his eye when he’s in the huddle, that none of this is too big for him,” Olsen said, according to the Charlotte Observer. “He belongs here.”
Fellow running back Jonathan Stewart was left gushing over his new teammate, too.
“He’s pretty unstoppable as far as coming out of the backfield running routes,” Stewart said, via the Charlotte Observer. “I can tell you now there’s not going to be anybody in this league that can cover him one-on-one.”
Additionally, Panthers head coach Ron Rivera has been pleased, both with McCaffrey’s play and maybe more importantly, his mental approach.
“You see the young man really knows how to be a pro already,” Rivera said. “He’s just going to get progressively better at it.”
The Panthers’ stout rushing attack slipped last season to 10th in the league, down from second when they reached the Super Bowl the previous season. The hope is that McCaffrey, the eighth pick in April’s draft, can help alleviate the pressure off of both Stewart and Cam Newton, making the offense more dynamic and in turn, leading to more wins.
While it’s certainly very early, McCaffrey has been impressive so far, even if the latest highlight came at the expense of Kuechly.
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