Christian McCaffrey: To Be or Not To Be that is the 49ers Question

Niners Live’s coverage of the upcoming NFL draft continues with a look at former Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey.  McCaffrey, 5’11 202 lbs., is one of the top running back prospects, is position versatile, possesses top intangibles and will be a second generation, son of retired wide receiver Ed McCaffrey, NFL player.


Head coach Kyle Shanahan has utilized a multi-back system in his offenses since he became a coordinator in the league.  Most recently he had the combination of fellow running back’s Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman of the Atlanta Falcons. The 49ers currently have five running backs on the roster, after re-signing DuJuan Harris and signing free agent Tim Hightower. Despite this, there is still room in the stable for McCaffrey because of his unique skillset and how he matches Shanahan’s offensive scheme.

Stanford recently held it’s pro day with McCaffrey being the main offensive attraction. The 49ers’ brass was in attendance, which included Shanahan. According to reports McCaffrey impressed; displaying his versatility, precise route running, sticky hands and his added value as a return specialist.

“I did all of my running back stuff at the combine, and so today I really wanted to make sure that(teams) knew that I can run routes from the slot. I can run routes from outside. I can catch kicks and returns punts.” I wanted to show them, that I really believe I can do anything,” stated McCaffrey after his pro day (via the team’s website).

What did the legend/Hall of Famer and Two-Time back to back Super Bowl winning quarterback John Elway have to say about McCaffery? See for yourself:

And Shanahan himself was also, intrigued by his versatility: “That’s what makes him valuable, He can do a little bit of everything, whether it’s special teams and all the skill positions on offense. He’s good at all, he’s very versatile, but he’s good at running back which makes him special,” said Shanahan after Stanford’s pro day. 5 Notes from Kyle Shanahan at Stanford’s Pro Day

To Be

  • Can contribute immediately on special teams
  • Blood line player who possesses the work ethic to excel in the NFL
  • Will be a match up nightmare in Shanahan’s offense
  • Playmaker, who can hurt defenses from multiple positions

Not To Be

  • Depth on the current roster and draft prospects
  • Not worth trading back into the first round for and not worth the second overall pick
  • DuJuan Harris and Kyle Juszczyk hold roles he will play
  • Should be off the boards when the 49ers pick in the second round

In Closing: 

The idea of Christian McCaffrey playing in the red and gold is an intriguing and exciting one. He is an ultra-versatile player who has been driven to be in the NFL since he watched his father play in the league as aforementioned. He would be a great addition to the team. However, based on where the 49ers are picking and where he is slated to be picked, it doesn’t look like this match was meant to be. If he falls to the second round the 49ers should pull the trigger, you can never have enough playmakers.

There are rumors that the 49ers are one of the teams seriously interested in McCaffrey. Another rumor circling around is that the Carolina Panthers want to trade up from the eight pick to the second pick with the 49ers. If this trade happens, it will give the 49ers extra picks and more ammunition to trade back into the first round where McCaffrey is projected to be drafted.

As always, keep your eyes wide open, 49er fans. Niners Live will be watching with you. #eyeswideopen and often imitated but never duplicated… Go Niners.  

Welcome to

All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of, Pro Football,, unless otherwise indicated. Author Jimi Payne Staff Writer at Niners live. Co-Author, Editor NinersLive.