Through his first three years in the league, Carolina Panthers star running back Christian McCaffrey has established himself as arguably the best player at his position. McCaffrey is a legitimate dual-threat option out of the backfield that has drawn comparisons to some of the greatest players. One of those all-time greats has pegged the Pro Bowler to being a better form of himself on the field.
Christian McCaffrey’s 2019 season
McCaffrey had truly burst onto the season in his second campaign, but he took that to much greater heights in the 2019 season as he was the most productive running back in the league. That saw him set many NFL records along the way that earned him much recognition in the MVP conversation despite the Panthers’ struggles.
He finished third with 1,387 rushing yards and 15 rushing touchdowns along with being second with 116 receptions for 1,005 receiving yards and four touchdowns. McCaffrey’s 116 catches were the most ever for a running back, breaking his previous record last season (107). He also became the first running back to post multiple 100-reception seasons, while his 2,392 total scrimmage yards are the most in Panthers history.
That saw him become just the third player to record at least 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards, joining Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk and former San Francisco 49ers great Roger Craig. There were other notable career marks that he reached just recording the most receptions for a running back through their first three seasons. He also put himself alongside Herschel Walker as the only running backs with north of 2,000 receiving yards in his first 42 games played.
McCaffrey’s stellar play through this point in his career has completely impressed one Hall of Famer running back that he has been compared to frequently.
Marshall Faulk praises Christian McCaffrey
McCaffrey’s tantalizing ability as a dual-threat option out of the backfield has made him one of the most uniquely talented players in the league. His massive impact as both a runner and receiver has drawn comparisons to some of the all-time greats.
One of those that is mentioned continuously is former St. Louis Rams star running back Marshall Faulk, who was a dominant factor during the prime of his career. However, even with all the success, he had during his time, Faulk has voiced that he believes McCaffrey is a “better version” of himself on the field, according to Bill Voth of Panthers.com.
“He’s a better version of me.”
“He had to do more with less help. I had a lot of help,” said Faulk, who in 1999 was part of a Rams offense that was called “The Greatest Show on Turf.”
McCaffrey hasn’t nearly had as much talent around like Faulk did during his glory days with the Rams when they had the likes of Kurt Warner, Isaac Bruce, and Torry Holt. The 23-year-old has made the most of his situation and is producing at an elite level. Faulk was an incredible talent that carried the offense and did so on many occasions that helped get him into the Hall of Fame.
He has put himself into an exclusive company, and he can stay on this track for the next several years it could put him well on pace to be a Hall of Famer one day.
Panthers must build around Christian McCaffrey
McCaffrey has more than established himself as one of the league’s best talents in such a short span.
However, it will be on the Panthers to make the most of his prime years while putting together a more talented roster around him so that he doesn’t wear down sooner. McCaffrey is a game-changing player, which puts a great deal of emphasis on putting forth a playoff-caliber team that can compete for much more than just that.
In the meantime, McCaffrey will continue to put forth an incredible career that could have him in Canton one day.