Report: Panthers’ interest in Christian McCaffrey ‘likely a smokescreen’

Christian McCaffrey
Dec 26, 2015; Anaheim, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal running back Christian McCaffrey poses during press conference prior to the 102nd Rose Bowl against the Iowa Hawkeyes at the Disney California Adventure Park. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There has been a lot of chatter lately that the Carolina Panthers might be extremely interested in Christian McCaffrey. But is it all a smokescreen?

That’s what Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk put out there on Thursday before the draft.

“A source with knowledge of the dynamics believes the McCaffrey chatter is likely a smokescreen, one of the many that are wafting through the air like whatever Phil Simms pushed in the direction of Jim Nantz. Regardless of whether Carolina pulls the trigger, the expected range for McCaffrey currently is No. 5 through No. 15.”

As Florio notes, this means teams picking after the Panthers might be getting fed this information that Carolina likes him so they might be enticed to trade up to land him.

That expected range between No. 5 and No. 15 is pretty broad. It also shows just how volatile the top half of the first round is expected to be. More teams in the top 10 than not want to trade down, including the San Francisco 49ers (No. 2 overall) and Tennessee Titans (No. 5 overall).

McCaffrey is extremely talented, was very durable and showed he can be a four-down impact player during his career at Stanford. Some believe he’ll be drafted before Leonard Fournette, and we broke down how that might come about here.

We cannot wait to see what happens when names start coming off the board Thursday night.