Over the past few seasons, Christian McCaffrey has emerged as one of the most versatile (and highest paid) running backs in the NFL. As a member of the Carolina Panthers, he’s shown himself to be a serious threat to run or catch a pass out of the backfield.
While McCaffrey is making a splash, there’s significant evidence that the ability he’s shown to be an NFL superstar runs in the family. You can find that evidence by looking back at his father’s NFL career or forward toward the potential NFL careers of his brothers.
Let’s take a closer look at the McCaffrey family — a family that may soon see two additional brothers enter the NFL.
Christian McCaffrey’s path to the NFL
One Charlotte Observer piece after the Panthers drafted McCaffrey revealed his mother Lisa was a volleyball player at Stanford while his father Ed was an NFL wide receiver for the New York Giants and Denver Broncos. His uncle, Bill McCaffrey, played for Duke’s 1991 team that won the NCAA men’s basketball championship. Growing up, McCaffrey idolized Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders, hanging a poster of the legend above his bed.
Following in his parents’ footsteps, McCaffrey attended Stanford to play football where he was a standout in the backfield. The Panthers drafted him with the eighth overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft.
According to Pro Football Reference, thus far in his NFL career, he’s played 48 games, rushed for 2,920 yards and 24 touchdowns. He’s also caught 303 passes for 2,523 receiving yards with 15 touchdowns. In 2019, he had over 2,000 all-purpose yards, with 1,387 on the ground and 1,005 through the air.
The football careers of the McCaffrey brothers
Christian isn’t the only talented McCaffrey, however. His brothers also have promising football careers ahead of them. Younger brother Luke is currently a sophomore at Nebraska.
According to HuskerCorner.com, Luke will look to challenge incumbent quarterback Adrian Martinez for the starting job in 2020. If he’s unable to obtain that spot, he may switch positions. That clearly won’t be a problem, if his brother’s athleticism and flexibility as a running back is any indicator.
Another McCaffrey brother, Dylan, is headed into his senior season as a quarterback at the University of Michigan. He’s seen limited action so far — the team’s website says he’s only seen action 13 games as a reserve throughout his career. There’s good news for him in 2020, however. With Shea Patterson graduating he’ll now move into the number one spot on the depth chart.
What does the future hold for the McCaffrey brothers?
The easiest future for any of the McCaffrey brothers to predict has to be Christian: he’s going to continue to be very wealthy. The Panthers awarded him a sizable extension. Now that the team has moved on from Cam Newton, it’s fair to say Christian will be the face of the franchise going forward. Running backs don’t usually have long-lasting NFL careers, but he’s still young enough where he likely has 5-6 more dominant years left in him at least.
The future of the other McCaffreys is a bit murkier. Luke is a bit younger, so he has a bit more time to shape his career. If he’s able to knock off Martinez as the starter in Lincoln this season — highly unlikely due to head coach Scott Frost’s infatuation with his current quarterback — he may have NFL prospects.
Dylan can get on NFL scouts’ radar with a solid senior season at Michigan. Leading the team to a Big Ten title — or, better yet, a win over Ohio State — would certainly turn some heads. Ultimately, it may be the McCaffrey name that might help the brothers get drafted. If they can put together solid seasons at Nebraska and Michigan respectively, they’ll likely generate some interest when they’re eligible for the NFL draft.