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NFL Notes: Christian McCaffrey, 49ers, Patriots, Ravens

Christian McCaffrey

An NFC scout tells Bucky Brooks that teams like the Patriots and Saints could be the best landing spot for Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey.

“I’m not saying he is the best back in the draft, but I believe he can be a star in the right system,” the scout said. “In a place like New Orleans or New England, he could be a headache because the play callers would use him all over the field to create mismatches. … Not that he is strictly a system guy but there are some coaches in the league who understand how to maximize his talents as a versatile playmaker.

A separate scout compared McCaffrey to former Eagles RBĀ Brian Westbrook.

“You know (he’s going to be compared) to Marshall Faulk, but I see him more like Brian Westbrook. He is a change-of-pace back and a returner. He will make some plays, but I don’t think he can be your No. 1 gu,” said the scout.

Brooks believes the Packers, Patriots, Saints and Eagles would all be good teams for McCaffrey to end up with.

49ers

  • According to Adam Caplan, the 49ers are expected to run a 4-3 base defense next year under new defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.
  • Caplan adds that it should be the same as Gus Bradley’s defense, but coaches have told him Saleh’s scheme has elements of a 3-4.

Patriots

  • Mike Reiss of ESPN writes that it would make sense for the Patriots to prioritize a long-term extension for LB Dont’a Hightower that would include game-day roster bonuses. Although, Reiss doesn’t rule out the possibility of New England franchising him.
  • Reiss expects the Patriots to use a first-round restricted tender on CB Malcolm Butler that will cost them around $4 million for the 2017 season.
  • Reiss can’t see New England getting into a bidding war to keep TE Martellus Bennett.
  • In regards to veteran DL Alan Branch, Reiss suggests a two-year, $11 million contract similar to what the Texans gave Vince Wilfork as a deal that should work for the Patriots and Branch.
  • Reiss gets the sense that New England would like to have CB Logan Ryan back next year, but he also admits that the free agent market could price out the Patriots if he receives an offer of around $7-8 million per year.
  • According to Reiss, WR Michael Floyd will probably have to sign a one-year, prove-it contract. If so, a return to the Patriots could be his best option.
  • As for RB LeGarrett Blount, Reiss says that a strong case can be made to re-sign him to a similar contract the Patriots gave him last year.

Ravens

  • The Baltimore Ravens announced Tuesday that they’ve promoted Chris Hewitt to secondary coach, Mike Macdonald to defensive backs coach, Drew Wilkins to assistant defensive line coach and Juney Barnett to strength and conditioning coach.

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