Nick Chubb, Georgia
Weight: 227 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.52 seconds
Vertical: 38.5 inches
Broad Jump: 10’8″
Here’s a name you may have heard before, though you may not remember why. Chubb was once considered a top-10 NFL prospect, that was until he dislocated his knee and tore three ligaments in 2015. It’s been a long road back for Chubb, but if the Combine was any display of where he’s at, watch out. He’s a bigger running back at 5-foot-11 and 227 pounds, but he comes with a bit more shiftiness than most guys his size.
Chubb was involved in a timeshare with Sony Michel, and that’s because Chubb isn’t known to be a very good pass blocker or receiver out of the backfield. He was limited to a lot of 1-2 down work, but shined as he got healthier, totaling 1,345 yards on 223 carries (6.0 YPC) with 15 touchdowns during his senior year. There were a lot of people who left with a bad taste in their mouth, though, after he totaled just 25 yards on 18 carries in the national championship game against Alabama. Was it just a bad game or a sign of things to come?
Vision/Patience: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Chubb has solid patience for a big man, but he’s still a one-cut runner with limited lateral ability. Because of that, you don’t want him to be too patient behind the line of scrimmage. His vision is solid, especially once he gets past the first line of defense. It’s almost as if he’s looking forward to where he’s going to go after he breaks an arm tackle, which gives him maximum yardage a majority of the time. Truth be told, it’s going to be tough for a running back who is 227 pounds to score well in his patience, but his vision is good enough where he earns a solid score in this category.
Elusiveness (twitch, juke, tackle breaking): 3.5 out of 5 stars
This comes down to how you define elusiveness, because Chubb isn’t an easy player to bring down. He’s not a Marshawn Lynch-type that’ll run you over, but you better come with your best when trying to tackle him. He has more lateral ability than most 1-2 down backs, but you aren’t going to see him breaking any ankles on the field. Chubb’s goal is to get downhill and then beat you in the open field, whether it be a slight juke or lowering his shoulder. He’s not the quick-twitch athlete that his teammate Michel was, but that’s not why you draft a guy like him.
Speed: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Most will probably lose their cool when they see I gave Chubb a lower speed score than his teammate, especially when you consider Chubb ran a faster 40-yard dash than him. But this is a perfect situation to explain why the film matters. If you put on tape of a Georgia game, you can clearly see that Michel plays faster in pads. Chubb isn’t a snail, but he’s not going to out-run many defenders. He does, however, have solid long-speed once he gets into the open field, but you’d like to see him have a tad more acceleration out of the gate. Still, given his height and weight, he’s faster than most.
Pass-catching/Pass-protection: 1.5 out of 5 stars
This is the area that hurts him the most, as he’s not going to come in and catch many passes in the NFL. Chubb caught just nine passes for 116 yards over the last two years combined, and it wasn’t due to the type of offense they ran, either. He struggles in pass-protection and seems almost unwilling at times, leading to sacks on his quarterback because of his lack of recognition. It’s odd, too, because he’s a big guy who should be able to take on linebackers, but instead, it was his smaller teammate doing the dirty work. He can absolutely get better in this area and is below average, which is why he’s not mentioned in the top-tier of running back prospects. In today’s NFL, you can either catch passes or you’ll be a part of a timeshare. Needless to say, he’s going to start in a timeshare.
Balance: 4.0 out of 5 stars
He’s not someone you’ll see off-balance very often, as he’s got a solid foundation, allowing him to absorb hits. Moving full-speed at 227 pounds, most bigger backs have to decelerate quite a bit so they don’t lose their balance, but this is one of the highlights of Chubb’s game. He moves similar to a running back who might weigh in at around 210 pounds, which is a good thing when you combine in Chubb’s tackle-breaking ability. He knows how to gain yards by simply lowering his head when there isn’t much to gain, getting his hips low to the ground and driving.
Potential Landing Spot
One team that has talked about solidifying their running back position this offseason is the Lions, who have played merry-go-round with Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick, Dwayne Washington, and even Zach Zenner. Abdullah and Riddick can cover what’s needed out of the passing game, while Chubb would be their primary workhorse. The offensive line is not great, so it’s not the ideal landing spot for fantasy purposes, but the Lions could take the plunge on Chubb if he’s there in the third-round. Another team who may show interest is the Panthers, who recently let go of Jonathan Stewart. Chubb paired with Christian McCaffrey would be pretty legit.
Some will take this the wrong way, but Chubb reminds me of Alfred Morris. Before jumping in and saying that Chubb is a much better prospect, don’t forget that Morris posted three 1,000-yard seasons, including one that netted him 1,613 yards and 13 touchdowns. They’re both bigger backs who have just enough patience to churn out some big plays, though Chubb is a bit faster than Morris, especially his long speed. Morris wasn’t a pass-catcher, either, catching just 47 passes over his first four seasons with the Redskins. If Chubb lands on the right team, he could have RB1 value even without catching passes, though he better find the end zone regularly.