Chiefs Draft Preview:
Elijah Hood, Marlon Mack
and Christian McCaffrey
The following player notes are just appetizer observations before the meat-n-potatoes of the NFL Combine and my more detailed scouting and Flash reports.
Elijah Hood, North Carolina
Mostly a straight-ahead rusher, the 5’11-220 RB shows strong leg drive and good pad level that compliments his rugged rushing style. Hood is a meat-n-potatoes runner that works well between the tackles. Broke over 1400 yards rushing a 17 TDs in 2015, but slipped to 800+ yards and 8 scores this year, playing through some nagging injuries, including a concussion. Estimated to run his 40 around 4.6-ish, Hood plays to that speed and no more. He possesses nifty footwork for a bigger back but will not be as effective getting to the edge in the NFL as he showed in college. Even at North Carolina, he was slightly above average outside. Shows a nice one-cut and go trait. Hood is a capable receiver in basic RB pass-catching roles such as screens, flares off the line and safety valve looks. Elijah Hood doesn’t do anything with flair or fanfare; he gets the job done in workmanlike manner. He does show enough RB skills to warrant a shot as a situational rusher in the NFL, but his potential for a starring pro role comes with a pronounced ceiling.
Marlon Mack, South Florida
Marlon Mack has done nothing but improve his game in his 3 seasons at South Florida. He’s an energetic back with quick, choppy feet, effective elusiveness and surprising burst. At times Mack will deliver a blow at contact, but more often looks for the open lane and to avoid the big hit. He runs a tad upright and when he does lower the pads he loses vision and balance. His fast feet often assist him in sliding, darting and dodging his way to an open lane, but Mack will tend to dance and redirect a bit too much on occasion. He is a very aware rusher, handles the football with smarts and anticipates his blocks well. Mack is at his best slashing just inside the tackles or bouncing to the edge and hitting the accelerator rapidly. The South Florida Bull is a fair receiver and a willing blocker, plus-traits that will help his chances in the NFL. Mack will catch tacklers off guard as he hits top gear in a step. He shows 4.5-forty wheels and should time as such in his Combine and Pro Day workouts. This is a high-energy tailback with a good RB build and a toolbox capable of contributing as a pro. Some work keeping his eyes up upon contact will help him gain extra yards that are being lost due to loss of balance. That’s coachable. Marlon Mack is one to keep tabs on.
Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
Full-service RB toolbox here. McCaffrey stands 6’-202 and should hit his forty in the 4.4s. McCaffrey does it all; runs with speed and vision, catches like a wideout, handles punts and kickoffs, will throw if needed and plays like a pro’s son, which he is. If there is one concern here it is the 590 carries he’s endured over the past 2 seasons. AS a rusher McCaffrey runs low, with excellent balance and true RB vision. He’s Shady McCoy shifty and adds chunky extra yards jump-cutting and stop-n-going through the 2nd and 3rd levels of defenses. As impressive as his elusiveness is, McCaffrey is equally impressive hitting an inside lane with speed and decisiveness, showing zero hesitation between the tackles. This is a well-schooled tailback with full-feature skills. AS a receiver McCaffrey brings wideout-like route running and hands to his position. He is a nightmare for linebackers, excelling on kick-outs, circle-routes and sideline deep stems. Excellent technique catching the rock. McCaffrey is a day-one threat to start in the NFL. Pro blood runs through those veins, and he also has the smarts that come from good coaching, in college and at home. Winner here!