McCaffrey’s father is Ed McCaffrey — who won back-to-back Super Bowls as a receiver for the Broncos — and his maternal grandfather was Olympic sprinter David Sime, who won a silver medal in 1960.
After rushing for 2,019 yards and eight touchdowns as a sophomore at Stanford, McCaffrey ran for 1,603 yards and 13 TDs last year. An excellent kick returner and receiver, he also caught 82 passes over the past two years.
At 5 feet 11 and 202 pounds, McCaffrey has a slight frame that could lead to durability concerns, but he’s proven to be a physical runner. He’s also quicker than incumbent starter Rob Kelley.
Washington hasn’t spent a first-rounder on a runner since Ray McDonald in 1967. The nation’s leading collegiate rusher gained only 223 yards as a rookie before getting injured and released in 1968.
The Redskins’ first-rounder in 1942, Spec Sanders, fought in World War II and never played for the franchise. The Redskins drafted UCLA’s Cal Rossi in the first round in 1946 and 1947, but he wasn’t eligible the first year and opted to become a teacher after the second selection. Ernie Davis, the top overall pick in 1962, was traded to Cleveland and died of leukemia just five months later. The first draft pick in franchise history, Riley Smith (No. 2 overall in 1936), only gained 58 yards in three years.
Andy Farkas (1938) was the Redskins’ best first-round back. The two-time Pro Bowl pick led the NFL in scoring in 1939 and was a member of the 1942 championship team.
The team’s best backs, such as John Riggins, Clinton Portis and Terry Allen, arrived in trades or free agency. Others were taken later in the draft. Larry Brown, the 1972 MVP, and Stephen Davis were drafted in the eighth and fourth rounds, respectively.
The public push is for the Redskins to take a defensive lineman, linebacker or safety with their first pick. But Washington also has a great need at running back after Matt Jones lost the job at midseason and Kelley tailed off, averaging just 3.3 yards per carry over the final six games.
If Florida State’s Dalvin Cook and LSU’s Leonard Fournette go off the board first, and Denver doesn’t trade up from No. 20 to take the son of one of its former star, then Washington should select McCaffrey.