February 26, 2024

Who is Luke McCaffrey? Rice WR, brother of Christian McCaffrey emerges as NFL Draft sleeper after Senior Bowl

Christian McCaffrey is the most famous of the McCaffrey brothers, but he isn’t the only one in the family taking the football field.

McCaffrey’s younger brother, former Nebraska quarterback turned Rice wide receiver Luke McCaffrey, was recently one of the biggest standouts at the 2024 Reese’s Senior Bowl.

In addition to being a slot receiver, McCaffrey projects as a versatile prospect who could make plays in the backfield, on special teams, and downfield as a blocker. In the modern era of hybrid NFL receivers, players at the position have to be able to do it all, and McCaffrey has shown he can.

How did Luke McCaffrey perform at the Senior Bowl?

After several opt-outs practically cut the National team’s roster in half, McCaffrey took full advantage of the game the same way he did during practice week, hauling in a pair of receptions for 28 yards.

The only players who outperformed McCaffrey on the stat sheet were former Missouri running back Cody Schrader, who caught five passes for 54 yards, and former TCU running back Emani Bailey, who reeled in four passes for 34 yards.

Here’s a look at some of McCaffrey’s best plays throughout the week:

Luke McCaffrey NFL Draft projection 2024

McCaffrey has been pinned largely as a fifth-round prospect, though it’s reasonable to believe he’s risen higher on the draft boards since he turned so many heads at the Senior Bowl. Based on his level of play at Rice and what he showed in the showcase, he could be considered a potential sleeper, depending on how far he falls.

After converting from quarterback at Nebraska and Rice to a full-time wide receiver at Rice the past two seasons, McCaffrey hauled in 129 catches for 1,715 yards and 20 total touchdowns. He also added 265 rushing yards on just 27 carries over the past two seasons.

The most positive traits of his game include his footwork, catch radius, blocking ability, contested catch ability, overall versatility, and ability to work from the Wildcat.

Teams that make sense for the former Owls wideout include the Vikings, 49ers, Rams, and the Bills, among others. Here’s a look at where some of the other analysts have McCaffrey going.

FantasyPros, Matthew Jones

Projection: Round 6

“A tall slot receiver who comes from a football family with a sterling reputation, and who shows some appealing route-running traits for someone who only played the position for two years in college. Presents a relatively big target because of his size, length and ability to adjust to throws. Is a reliable hands-catcher as well. However, his lack of ideal speed and explosiveness may make it difficult for him to win against man coverage at the next level. Projects as more of a late-round pick.”

BVM Sports

Projection: Round 5

“With Luke McCaffrey’s impressive athletic background and versatility, the potential selection by the Buffalo Bills in the 2024 NFL Draft reflects the team’s strategic focus on talent with unique skill sets and potential for impact.”

How does Luke McCaffrey compare to brother Christian McCaffrey?

Throughout the week of practice at the Senior Bowl, McCaffrey fielded multiple questions, many of which were about his brother, who will be suiting up for the 49ers in Super Bowl 58 against the Chiefs.

“No, it’s fun,” he said when we asked if he’d gotten tired of being asked about his brother at the showcase event.

“I think it’s the coolest thing in the world because I think he deserves it more than anybody I’ve ever met. He works his tail off, and it’s so special to watch him succeed and to be able to be on the biggest stage in the world. I can’t wait for that game, and I’m so happy for him, so proud of him for this year.”

Of course, the two are on different paths. Despite sharing the same last name and family tree, they project differently as prospects purely from a tangibles and an intangibles perspective.

“We’re different in a lot of ways — we play different positions to start off with,” the younger McCaffrey said. “We’re about the same weight, I’m a little taller, he’s a little shorter. We both have good quickness, good speed, and I think we have a lot of similarities in our game because of just the mentality that we have.”

The pair utilize the talents they do share in common in different ways.

“But it’s cool to be able to see us use that in different ways — one of us, being me, through the air more. But he’s so versatile and can do everything on the football field — block, catch run. He can tackle, too. Obviously, he doesn’t do it a lot, but he can.”

It will be interesting to watch how the younger McCaffrey’s career plays out, as he’s even further grabbed the attention of coaches and scouts with his trip to the Alabama coast.

There’s no question he’ll be watching perhaps closer than anyone as Christian McCaffrey and the 49ers face the Chiefs in Super Bowl 58.