Sorry Guiness, but the comparison to Woodhead/McCluster really is ridiculous. McCaffrey literally grades out as one of the most successful college runners, in the between the tackles, in years. If you don’t know that, it’s because you haven’t watched him. Stanford is a power running team, and he master that system. Of course, even casual fans knows what he can do when he gets on the edge/in space. He is significantly more talented than anyone you listed. If anything, McCaffrey, as a prospect, compares more favorably to Brian Westbrook, but better between the tackles. He also compares favorably to Freeman, with a bit less power, but even more open field explosiveness.
The top 4 rookie running backs ranked by talent and fit in the modern NFL: 1) Mixon, 2) McCaffrey, 3) Cook, 4) Fornette. Fornette does not fit today’s NFL. Every team either has started to employ versatipe RBs, is starting now, or will wish they had soon. Mixon is the clear top talent in that respect in this draft. McCaffrey is easily second. Mark my words.
Fantasy-wise, both Fornette and Mixon do get a bit of a boost due to likely being better suited for short yardage than the other two (though Mixon has serious short yardage competition until Hill is gone). In PPR, Cook and McCaffrey should have enough of an advantage in the pass catching department to make up for less TD (when compared to Fornette, specifically).
Now, when you consider situation, Mixon comes back to the pack a bit, due to crowding in the backfield, and likelihood of that line being just dreadful. McCaffrey, Cook, and Fornette all look to have significant work loads all but guaranteed early, but each does have real concerns around their offensive lines and offenses’ effectiveness, in general.
Agree, disagree, do with that what you will, but I’ll stand by it.