Panthers’ RB unit ranked amongst NFL’s best by PFF

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The running back position has recently been a bit of a sore spot for the Carolina Panthers . . . literally. But if the injury bug stays away in 2022, specifically from its lead horse, then they have one of the league’s most potent backfields.

Pro Football Focus analyst Ben Linsey recently ranked each NFL team’s rushing units. As he notes, the Panthers’ group—as it has for the past handful of seasons—goes as Christian McCaffrey does.

And hopefully, that’s far away from the injured reserve from here on out.

Christian McCaffrey earned an 86.5 PFF grade in 2019 — third among qualifying running backs — on over 1,000 snaps,” writes Linsey, who puts Carolina at No. 8. “He almost never left the field and was integral to everything Carolina did on offense, ranking eighth in the league in rushing conversions (56) and ninth in receiving conversions (58) across players at all positions. The issue with moving Carolina any higher is that McCaffrey hasn’t played more than 300 offensive snaps in either of the two seasons since that 2019 campaign.

Following his phenomenal 2019 campaign—where he became the third player ever to amass 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in a single season—McCaffrey has played in just 10 of a possible 33 games. But, when healthy, the dynamic dual threat is right in the thick of the conversation for the sport’s best rusher.

His 2021 absences were filled primarily by rookie Chuba Hubbard, who Linsey also mentions alongside free-agent signing D’Onta Foreman.

“Chuba Hubbard and D’Onta Foreman have both proven themselves to be adequate fill-ins if injury strikes again, but the Panthers need a healthy McCaffrey in 2022.”

Hubbard led the Panthers with 612 rushing yards on 172 attempts this past year. And Foreman, who also stepped up in the absence of a star back in Derrick Henry, ran for 566 yards and three scores for the Tennessee Titans.

There’s no doubt both Hubbard and Foreman are more than capable backups. Carolina, however, hopes they won’t even have to verify that with McCaffrey returning to the fold.

Will McCaffrey run for 1,000+ yards in '22-23? - Powered By PickUp

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