Many of the mock drafts currently flooding every media outlet have the Carolina Panthers taking a running back with the eighth-overall pick in the first round next Thursday, using the logic that a more dominant running game could help protect franchise quarterback Cam Newton. Panthers GM Dave Gettleman further fueled that speculation during a press conference on Friday by saying he sees “half a dozen” every-down running backs in the 2017 draft according to Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com.
Interestingly, Gettleman included Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey in that group and said that McCaffrey showed the ability to run, catch and “carry the load” while in college. Many pundits believe that McCaffrey's size and durability will limit him to being a third-down back at the pro level. LSU’s Leonard Fournette would likely be the team’s other option if they want to take a running back at the top of the draft and the Panthers have been linked to both names during the pre-draft process.
If the Panthers do take an RB at eight, it will continue the reversal of a several-year trend that devalued the running back position and saw even the most talented runners fall out of the first round. The then St. Louis Rams were the first to buck that trend and shocked the NFL world by drafting Todd Gurley out of Georgia at No.10 in 2015 despite a torn ACL. Then teams around the league saw how the selection of Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott at No.4 last season completely changed the fortunes of the Dallas Cowboys. Fournette seems certain to be drafted in the top 10 this year and both McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook of Florida State seem likely to be first-round selections.
Read more here: http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2017/04/21/dave-gettleman-sees-half-a-dozen-every-down-running-backs-in-draft/