Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey apparently will be catching a lot of passes this year.
Coach Ron Rivera has said that he can envision the second-year top-10 pick getting 200 rushing attempts this season. On Thursday, offensive coordinator Norv Turner said that it’s realistic to see McCaffrey averaging 25-30 touches per game.
If he gets 25 touches per game, that’s 400 for the season. Which means that he’ll need to catch 200 passes.
The single-season record for receptions is 143.
McCaffrey had 117 rushes and 80 catches in 2017, a total of 197 touches. While it’s hard to imagine the workload doubling, the team needs to use McCaffrey more than it has to justify the fact that he was taken with the eighth overall selection. Part-time running backs would have been available later in the draft, allowing the Panthers to focus on getting a full-time impact player with its first-round pick.
For example, cornerback Marshon Lattimore was on the board at the time; he ended up being taken three spots later by the Saints. That’s not to say it was a mistake to take McCaffrey. However, it would be a mistake to have that much faith in him on draft day but not use him extensively on game days.