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Five things to know about Luke McCaffrey

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The Washington Commanders finished up Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft by taking Rice receiver Luke McCaffrey with the No. 100 overall pick. Here are five things to know about Washington's newest wideout.

1. The obvious.

For those who somehow didn't make the connection, yes, Luke McCaffrey is a member of that McCaffrey family, and yes, he's carrying on a long tradition of pursuing an athletic career.

We'll start with Luke's father, Ed. He was drafted 83rd overall by the New York Giants in 1991 and spent 13 years in the NFL. After three years in New York, he had a brief stint with the San Francisco 49ers before playing nine seasons for the Denver Broncos. He caught 565 passes in his career, amassing 7,422 yards and 55 touchdowns with a Pro Bowl in 1998.

Luke's mother, Lisa, was also a highly accomplished athlete, running track and playing tennis in high school. She also received Vanderbilt's first-ever scholarship for women's soccer but decided to play at Stanford for three seasons.

Then there's Christian, a first-round pick in 2017 and reigning rushing leader in the NFL. He's had four 1,000-yard rushing seasons, leading the league with 1,459 in 2023. He's a three-time Pro Bowler and two-time First Team All-Pro, accounting for 81 touchdowns in his eight-year career.

Luke has two more brothers: Max and Dillon. Max was an undrafted free agent and had a brief stint in the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars and 49ers. Dylan, a quarterback, played two seasons at Michigan before transferring to Northern Colorado, completing 55% of his passes for 3,499 yards with 20 touchdowns and 19 interceptions.

2. He's an all-around offensive weapon early in his career.

Like the rest of his brothers, McCaffrey played at Valor Christian High School, where he led the team to a Colorado state championship in 2018 as a quarterback. He was ranked as the No. 5 dual-threat signal-caller in the country and the best high school recruit in the state, which earned him a scholarship from Nebraska.

McCaffrey started his college career under center, completing 9-of-12 passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns before redshirting his freshman year. He became the first Nebraska player in program history to win his first start since 2013 and was one of the most successful dual-threat quarterbacks in the country, ranking 16th among FBS quarterbacks in rushing yards per game.

McCaffrey had several standout moments in 2020, most of which featured him as a rusher. He led the team with 67 yards on the ground in his first start against Penn State and accounted for 256 yards against Illinois. His 26 carries were the third-most by a Nebraska quarterback in program history, and he became the 100th player to rush for 100 yards in a game.

Although McCaffrey's time at Nebraska didn't last long, he showed off his versatility. By the time the 2020 season was over, he had accounted for 1,155 yards and seven touchdowns.

3. He and his brother had similar combine numbers.

Christian McCaffrey was one of the best athletes in Indianapolis at the 2017 combine, further cementing his status as a first-round pick. Seven years later, Luke arrived in Indianapolis to help his draft stock as well, and his results were eerily similar.

For starters, Luke and Christian almost ran the same 40 time with Luke (4.46) barely beating out his older brother by .02 seconds. They had the exact same broad jump at 10-foot-1 and 10-yard split (1.52). Christian, who is three inches shorter than Luke, had the better vertical jump (37.5 inches) and three-cone drill (6.7), but Luke had a much better 20-yard shuttle, finishing the drill in 4.02 seconds compared to Christian's 4.22.

Combine numbers don't always lead to success in the NFL. There are plenty of prospects who impressed in Indianapolis but didn't have long careers. However, Luke did show that he and his brother have similar athletic traits, and in some cases, he's a little bit better.

Check out the top photos of former Rice wide receiver. Luke McCaffrey.

4. He's one of the best receivers in Rice history.

McCaffrey transferred to Rice ahead of the 2021 season to finish out his college career. While he started his time with the Owls as a quarterback, throwing for 313 yards and two touchdowns, he eventually made a position switch and moved to wide receiver permanently in 2022. It ended up being the best decision for McCaffrey, as he went on to be one of the best wideouts in program history.

"I think the whole first year that I switched to receiver that first season, I put so much emphasis on the fundamentals of the basics of route running and the basics of getting off press and doing that," McCaffrey said. "And then the second year I kind of had the opportunity to put some things together and I think that's the journey from now until the end of my career is just trying to soak up knowledge, trying to learn and trying to do everything I can to compete and to make whatever team I'm on the best team possible."

McCaffrey may have still been learning the position in 2022, but that didn't prevent him from being one of Rice's most potent weapons. He was voted as the team's MVP by his peers for leading the Owls with 919 all-purpose yards, including 723 receiving yards with six touchdowns.

The following season, McCaffrey was the most dominant receiver in the AAC last year, leading the conference in touchdown catches. Although his time at Rice was short, he made his mark on the program. His 19 touchdowns rank third all-time in school history, while his 1,686 yards rank eighth.

5. He's ready to get to work "right away."

Though the Commanders didn't have a glaring need at wide receiver with Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson leading the position, it certainly could have used some more talent since Curtis Samuel had signed with the Bills. McCaffrey will need to earn his place as the third receiver on the depth chart, but he's not shying away from that challenge.

"I'm ready to get to work right away and start to compete and buy into this organization," McCaffrey said. "I love what everyone in that building stands for. Excited for the new faces and the kind of ability to be part of something that you can build and start from the ground up. I can't wait to get going."

Commanders general manager Adam Peters certainly thinks he has what it takes to impact the roster sooner rather than later. Peters said he took "a road less travelled," but now he's viewed as one of the best college receivers in the country. It helped that Christian, who Peters knows from his days with the 49ers, endorsed his brother, but Luke also "earned" the right to be a top 100 pick based on his own skill set.

"He's got size, he's got speed, he's got great movement skills, and I think he's only going to ascend," Peters said.

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