To become one of the NFL’s top players, Christian McCaffrey had to get his skills from somewhere.
Having a father who also played in the NFL certainly helped the younger McCaffrey prepare for the league. Years before his son became the highest-paid running back in NFL history, Ed McCaffrey played for the Denver Broncos.
Just how good was the elder McCaffrey? Let’s take a look back at his career.
Christian McCaffrey is among the NFL’s best players
The Carolina Panthers had to be thanking the football gods when they drafted Christian McCaffrey in 2017.
A two-time Heisman Trophy finalist at Stanford, McCaffrey dropped to the eighth overall pick and the Panthers, two years removed from a Super Bowl loss, swooped in to draft the consensus All-American.
Although Carolina hasn’t made it back to the Big Game in McCaffrey’s three years, he can’t be blamed for their struggles.
McCaffrey totaled 2,920 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns on 4.7 yards per attempt through his first three seasons. McCaffrey also turned 303 catches into 2,523 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Unfortunately for McCaffrey, he’s only played in one postseason game to this point. McCaffrey picked up 16 yards on six carries and caught six passes for 101 yards and a touchdown in an NFC wild-card loss to Drew Brees and the Saints.
Ed McCaffrey played 13 seasons
Before Christian McCaffrey dominated the NFL, Ed McCaffrey had his turn — and it was longer than some people may think.
A third-round selection of the New York Giants in 1991, Ed McCaffrey played 13 NFL seasons. There aren’t many other active second-generation players whose fathers lasted two decades in the NFL.
McCaffrey had an extremely solid career, catching 565 passes for 7,422 yards and 55 touchdowns. McCaffrey earned Pro Bowl honors in 1998, a season where he caught 64 passes for 1,053 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Denver Broncos.
The veteran wideout also earned second-team All-Pro honors that season.
Ed McCaffrey is a Denver Broncos legend
Ed McCaffrey joined the Denver Broncos in 1995 as a player who’d flashed in the past, but never blossomed into a capable starting receiver.
All of that changed in 1996, when McCaffrey started 15 games for the Broncos. From 1996-2000, McCaffrey caught 329 passes for 4,351 yards and 41 touchdowns; those are averages of 66 catches, 906 yards, and eight touchdowns per year.
A leg injury limited McCaffrey to just one game in 2001, but he responded with 69 catches, 903 yards, and two touchdowns in 2002. McCaffrey closed his career with 19 catches and 195 yards in 2003.
According to Pro-Football-Reference, McCaffrey totaled 67 approximate value in Denver. That score is good enough for 34th-best in Broncos history and third among receivers.
Only former teammate Rod Smith (126) and Demaryius Thomas (76) had higher AV metrics for Broncos receivers.
Denver named McCaffrey to its 50th Anniversary Team in 2009.