For Carolina Panther fans, seeing Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel’s names go across the draft board was exactly what they wanted to see. Two players who were great at the college level and helped their respected schools dramatically. Some have minor concerns about the two, which is understandable considering they haven’t played a down of NFL football yet. The biggest concern is will they come in and have an immediate impact on the offense. It’s too early to say, but let’s look at the benefits of having both of these players on this offense.
McCaffrey was an All-American at Stanford and the 2015 AP Player of the Year. He finished his college career with 3,922 rushing yards, 1,206 receiving yards, and a combined 33 touchdowns. His versatility allowed Stanford to use McCaffrey in many different positions on the field. He returned punts and kicks effectively also. With 4.48 second forty speed, McCaffrey’s deadly when he gets to the open field. According to NFL Network Analyst Charles Davis, McCaffrey was the best route runner in the 2017 Draft Class. The best asset McCaffrey brings to this offensive is his wonderful field vision. His ability to stop on a dime and change direction when needed sets him apart from most players. He’s quick to react to change on the field, and that’s what the Panthers offense needs if it wants to get back to one of the league’s best.
Curtis Samuel has a lot of the same traits that Christian McCaffrey has. At Ohio State, Samuel finished his Buckeye career with 1,286 rushing yards, 1,249 receiving yards, and a combined 24 touchdowns. During his final year at Ohio State he averaged 7.9 yards per rush. That’s crazy to think a person can average almost a first down per carry in the Big 10. His combine results jumped off the page to most. He ran a 4.31 second in the 40-yard dash to go along 37 inch vertical. These qualities are ideal for this type of offense. Although his kick return and punt return presence isn’t as good as Christian McCaffrey’s, he can still be a threat when placed in that position.
How to Use Them
With the qualities that both of these players bring to the table it shouldn’t be hard to find a role for them in this offense. These versatile players can be a threat wherever they line up. In my opinion Curtis Samuel would thrive more in the slot position mainly because he played that in most of the Ohio State schemes. I feel like he has special teams potential also. With 4.3 second forty speed, Samuel is liable to break off long runs at any given time. McCaffrey is definitely more of the hybrid player. You can line him up anywhere and he’ll produce. It will all just come down to if Cam Newton can get him the ball, which I don’t think they’ll have a problem with. These two pickups in this most recent draft are exactly what the Panthers needed to get back the swagger of the team back and turn things around.