INDIANAPOLIS — Blink and you may miss Christian McCaffrey racing down the sidelines for a highlight-reel touchdown.
For the past three years, McCaffrey has made a living of making Pac-12 defenders look foolish on Saturdays. But for whatever reason, McCaffrey has had to fight to prove critics wrong since the day he strapped on football pads.
McCaffrey, the son of three-time Super Bowl champion and member of the Denver Broncos 50th Anniversary Team Ed McCaffrey, took center stage at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis on Thursday afternoon and was candid when talking about the outside perception of him as a running back at the next level.
"I always play with a chip on my shoulder," McCaffrey said. "I feel like a lot of people don't give my credit for my skills and talents. That's just the way it is. But I also don't care too much. I don't feel like I'm crazy disrespected.
"I have a chip on my shoulder at all times. That's been my whole life. I'm constantly trying to prove myself."
It's difficult to pinpoint exactly why McCaffrey, somebody who holds Stanford's single-season all purpose yardage record and was a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2015, has felt disrespected when stacked up against the other top running backs in the 2017 NFL Draft class.
While he may not be as physically imposing as LSU's Leonard Fournette and doesn't have the measurables as a prototypical three-down NFL running back, McCaffrey sees his versatility as something that can separate himself from other backs.
"Something I really pride myself on is not just being a running back that can catch the ball, but if I move out to the slot I become a receiver. If I move out to X or Z, I become a receiver not just a running back," McCaffrey said. "I try to pride myself in route-running and catching, and being able to be a mismatch anywhere on the field.
"Anytime I can get the ball in my hands I feel like I can do something dangerous and it's really why I love the return game. There's so much space in front of you. It's just another opportunity to make a play."
With his unique skillset, there's no question that McCaffrey will be an asset to any team that drafts him in April.
Does he have a preference?
"I'd be happy to play for anybody."
And if the whole football thing doesn't work out for McCaffrey, he's got a backup plan.
"I ordered a harmonica on Amazon about $15 and just started messing around with it."