As we inch closer to the start of the NFL free agency period and the 2023 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers braintrust is constantly evaluating the team's positions of need and the prospects and players set to become available. One position group that was shored up in-season was the 49ers running back corps with the addition of Christian McCaffrey via a trade with the Carolina Panthers in Week 7. McCaffrey's impact was near immediate with the do-it-all back taking his first snaps for San Francisco 48 hours after his arrival and the start of the team's 12-game win streak coinciding with his first fully unleashed game.
McCaffrey's contributions did not go unnoticed in 2022 with the running back earning a Pro Bowl selection and coming up second in the vote for the Associated Press Comeback Player of the Year Award. More recently, the dual-threat threat back landed on Pro Football Focus' (PFF) list of the top running backs in yards per route run from the 2022 season.
The decision to evaluate a running back on yards per route run is aimed at painting a more clear picture of the player's productivity on a per-snap basis. Per PFF, the yards per route run metric "divides a player's receiving yards total by the number of routes they ran, providing a better indicator of production than yards per reception or even yards per target."
McCaffrey was ranked No. 3 on PFF's top ten list with a 1.83 yards per route run score.
"One of just two running backs to see 100 or more targets in 2022, McCaffrey led all players at the position with 741 receiving yards from 405 routes run," the PFF staff wrote in their evaluation of the 49ers back.
Titans Derrick Henry topped the list, and Breece Hall of the New York Jets came in at No. 2.