Rookie Spotlight: Luke McCaffrey, Rice
Hand:: 9 1/2″
Arm: 29 7/8″
Age: 23 – (4/2/01)
40-yard dash: 4.59 (projected)
NFL Play-Style Comparison: Khalil Shakir
Draft Grade: 4th Round
Breakout Age: 21 (RS Junior)
Offensive Market Share Metrics (Final Season)
Receiving Yards: 30%
Receiving TDs: 45%
High School: Valor Christian (Littleton, Colorado)
As a high school prospect: Class of 2019; 4-star QB
College Attended: Nebraska, Louisville* & Rice
– Utilizes light footwork at the LOS to create separation on defenders he can’t outpace.
– Shows late hands, on downfield routes to keep the defender at length.
– Strong hand/eye coordination, and ability to take a hit at the catch point.
– “Frick it, Luke is down there somewhere”… time after time, balls are not necessarily put in a great place, but he comes down with it.
– Contested Catch-ability
– Established route tree with patience and nuance
– Lacks speed downfield and ability to separate from defenders in man at the top of routes.
– New to the Wide Receiver position, but shows polishing despite just two years at the position.
– Spent three seasons as Quarterback / transitioning to Receiver at Nebraska & Rice
– Not an elite athlete like his brother, Christian but built with pure grit & you’ll never see his feet stop moving.
– Exhibits a lot of surface area while utilized in running game.
As a Quarterback in high school, McCaffrey ran a 4.64 forty-yard dash. He played for his father Ed McCaffrey at Valor Christian in Colorado, playing Quarterback and Wide Receiver, yes his brother is Christian McCaffrey. After committing to Nebraska as a 4-star Quarterback, McCaffrey competed for the starting job, after a couple of bad outings, Nebraska went with Adrian Martinez and McCaffrey moved on the ensuing spring. McCaffrey didn’t exactly find his home right away, as he ended up at Louisville in the Spring of 2021 to compete with Malik Cunningham for the starting job, before ever taking part in a practice, it was announced that McCaffrey was again searching for a new home as he had departed Lousiville. Enter Rice stage left, McCaffrey’s first season at Rice, he saw playing time at Quarterback but the majority of the snaps ended up being rush attempts, finishing the season with 31 pass completions, 41 rush attempts, and 0 targets. In 2022, he approached coach Mike Bloomgren about a position switch the Wide Receiver, stating that “I think the best parts about playing are that you get to go out and play and be with your teammates and enjoy that combined victory and that battle. I realized that playing quarterback didn’t necessarily eliminate any of that.”. He finished his two-year wide receiver career at Rice with 129 receptions, 1,715 receiving yards, and 19 touchdowns, not bad for a guy who just started working at the position.
Luke is the final McCaffrey brother to graduate college, his older brother Christian is in the NFL playing for San Francisco, Max played Wide Receiver and is now an Offensive Assistant for the Dolphins, and Dylan played at the University of Michigan before transferring to Northern Colorado.
McCaffrey’s outlook is a bit foggy as we enter the 2024 NFL Draft cycle, in just two seasons playing receiver at Rice, he looks the part of a developmental + NFL receiver on Day 1, my best comparable player Khalil Shakir took 4 seasons at Boise State, plus high school and at the current stage, I lean McCaffrey. His father Ed, at 6’5 210lb was one of John Elway’s favorite targets in Denver and was often tabbed as the best run-blocking receiver in the sport while he played, and his brother Christian, who is the best player in all of the NFL are in his corner. Luke has gone through the trials and tribulations of being a highly-ranked recruit, playing quarterback, transferring, and changing positions, In year one my expectations are limited, but if he is utilized on special teams the way Adam Thielen was his first two seasons in Minnesota, I believe McCaffrey will latch onto a team and continue to grow as a refined route runner and instinctive intelligent receiver.