49ers Nation: Christian McCaffrey hands down NFL top offensive player in 2023

Why San Francisco 49ers dual-threat running back Christian McCaffrey, not Lamar Jackson, was the top offensive player in the NFL in 2023.
NFC Championship - Detroit Lions v San Francisco 49ers
NFC Championship - Detroit Lions v San Francisco 49ers / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

When it comes to dual threats in the NFL, San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey was at the top of the list.  Whether it was running the ball between the tackles, bouncing to the outside or catching the ball, McCaffrey was an offensive force at the top of the list.

An MVP candidate in 2023, the 49ers running back still ranked No. 2 below Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson David Carr’s “Final top 15 offensive player rankings of the 2023 NFL regular season” list, but as the top offensive player still standing, McCaffrey has his team preparing to take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVIII, the biggest stage in which McCaffrey can prove just how dynamic he is.

Christian McCaffrey was a dynamic force in the loaded 49ers offense

With teammate Brock Purdy, Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill and Super Bowl opponent Patrick Mahomes rounding out the top 5 on Carr’s list, McCaffrey was no doubt the top running back in the NFL and a player defenses had to prepare for in more ways in one.

Here is what Carr wrote about McCaffrey in his NFL.com ranking:

“Christian McCaffrey made a sure-fire case to become the league MVP in 2023, with even teammate Brock Purdy -- also an MVP finalist -- stumping for McCaffrey to earn the award. The dynamic running back led the league in touches (339), scrimmage yards (2,023) and scrimmage TDs (21) this season, joining Hall of Famer Jim Brown as the only players in NFL history to win the scrimmage triple crown twice. This is a loaded 49ers offense, and McCaffrey still stands above the rest, as he routinely shows out, no matter how big the stage or who the opponent is.”

While it is tough to argue Jackson as the top offensive player, there is a case for McCaffrey.  As Carr mentioned, the fact that he led the NFL in touches, yards from scrimmage and TDs despite defenses locked in on stopping him can’t be ignored and showcases his ability when healthy.  Those making the case for Jackson would say McCaffrey played on a squad full of offensive stars, but I’d say that’s more impressive because he was the engine that made the offense go. 

So, as NFL fanatics look ahead to Super Bowl LVIII, just remember who will be on the big stage and who is sitting at home watching McCaffrey do his thing.  A difference maker, a game changer and a player who makes players around him better, Christian McCaffrey was and is the definition of a dynamic player 2023. 

He may not throw the ball, but he can break a defense in every other way.