Editor’s Note: To help you dominate your rookie drafts, this series will feature a look at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of over 40 dynasty rookie draft prospects and run all through the month of May and even into June. We’ll cover all the premier prospects but also give you critical information on some of the lesser known talents. All of these rookie updates will be loaded into our ever-evolving 2018 Rookie Draft Guide – the ultimate resource for dynasty enthusiasts all over the world.
Name: Nick Chubb
Position: Running Back
Pro Team: Cleveland Browns
College Team: Georgia Bulldogs
Draft Status: Round two, 35th overall
- Height: 5’10 7/8’’
- Weight: 227 pounds
- Hands: 9 5/8”
- Arm Length: 32’’
- Bench Press (225 Pounds): 29 reps
- 40-Yard-Dash: 4.52
- 3-Cone: 7.09
- Broad Jump: 128”
- 20-Yard Shuttle: 4.25
- Vertical: 38.5’’
Despite shredding his knee in 2015, Chubb is a freak athlete. He destroyed the Combine but didn’t get the publicity that his workouts deserved due to Saquon Barkley’s otherworldly testing. Chubb’s burst may not quite be back to pre-injury form, but he’s just about the same caliber athlete he ever was, and that’s elite (98th percentile SPARQ-x score).
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He’s one of the most prolific running backs in SEC history. Second only to Herschel Walker in rushing yards, Chubb was on pace to break records prior to his injury. After Todd Gurley tore his ACL in 2014, Chubb rushed for over 100 yards in 13 straight games and totaled 22 touchdowns in the same span. He was averaging 8.1 yards per carry his sophomore season, which is unheard of.
He is a bruising, downfield runner who runs with tremendous power. His foot speed is elite, and when combined with his terrific vision, he’s able to quickly locate holes, change direction, and explode through the line with good burst. He is capable of bouncing runs to the outside, but an aspect of his game that I appreciate is his willingness to take what’s given to him rather than looking for the home run.
As we saw this past year with Alvin Kamara and Kareem Hunt, balance is an incredibly important trait to possess as a runner, and Chubb’s balance is outstanding. He may be the best interior runner in this class.
Like many other running backs in this class, Chubb wasn’t asked to contribute heavily in the receiving game, but showed the ability to do so throughout his four years at Georgia. He could use work as a route runner and doesn’t appear to be the most natural hands catcher, but can improve in both aspects with more reps. Chubb isn’t a poor receiver, but Georgia had two superior options in that respect (Sony Michel and D’Andre Swift), so he was naturally featured less in that aspect.
Notably, Chubb caught more passes than Todd Gurley in 2014. Gurley has 128 receptions through three seasons in the NFL and recently singlehandedly catapulted fantasy owners to championships, so Chubb has unrealized potential here.
He’s not the best in pass protection either, although he has improved since beginning his collegiate career. He has the size and the effort to be an asset in this aspect of the game, and should continue to improve throughout his career – but in a backfield with other capable players, this could limit his playing time right away if he happens to struggle.
Finding Chubb’s immediate opportunity is challenging. He’s a better player than Carlos Hyde, so he may be able to carve out an immediate role on early downs and handle a heavy workload right away.
As mentioned above, he is an underrated receiver, so he could dig into Duke Johnson’s workload more than Isaiah Crowell ever did. More likely is that he’ll take some time to get going. More on this a little later.
Chubb likely won’t play much on passing downs due to the presence of Duke Johnson. Johnson is one of the NFL’s premier change of pace backs, and the Browns (though much improved) will likely have a losing record again, leading Johnson to play a heavy complement of snaps.
More interestingly, Chubb has direct competition on early downs as well, which is where one would naturally expect Chubb to have an immediate impact. He and Hyde will battle for playing time and carries on early downs throughout the offseason and preseason, and this will likely dictate what his role this year could look like. Chubb’s upside is immense, but he’s likely to be a headache to own right off the bat.
2018’s immediate outlook is murky. Chubb will have to compete with Hyde on early downs and Duke Johnson on passing downs. Because of that, he might not be a viable starter week in and week out. In previous years, Duke Johnson was the back to own in Cleveland, due to a putrid defense that led the Browns to have to claw back from large deficits on a weekly basis. The Browns appear to be vastly improved, which should allow the primary ball carrier more carries – but it remains to be seen just how involved Chubb will be as a rookie. He’s best served as your RB3 until we have further clarity.
It may not take more than a single season to see the upside that Chubb truly possesses. Duke Johnson is a free agent after this year, and the Browns have an out from Carlos Hyde’s contract after this season as well, via Spotrac.
Chubb has RB1 upside. If Johnson departs and Chubb can command any portion of Johnson’s role, his consistency will immediately benefit. Likewise, if he blows by Hyde on the depth chart and can handle 15 or more touches per game, he’ll be a weekly starter. Cream tends to rise to the top in NFL backfields, and if both scenarios occur, it’s not out of the question that Chubb could be a top 10-12 back as soon as next season.
We have yet to truly see if the knee injury that Chubb suffered in 2015 will have long-term ramifications on his longevity. He seems to be regaining his pre-injury form as time passes, so I doubt this will be a concern – but it’s worth mentioning.
Chubb reminds me of an early-career Jonathan Stewart. Stewart has lost the elite athleticism that he possessed when he came into the league, but they are both solid interior runners with a nose for the end zone. Stewart has always been an underrated receiver, as I believe Chubb is as well.
Projected Range for Rookie Drafts
In other years, Chubb would probably slot in at the very top of the running back ranks, but this year has a crown jewel (Barkley) and a large tier following that. Post-draft, Chubb seems to be part of a large tier that includes Derrius Guice, Rashaad Penny, Sony Michel, DJ Moore, and Ronald Jones.
Chubb sits at 1.03 in both DLF’s rookie rankings and DLF’s Rookie ADP. 1.02 seems a bit out of reach, but 1.03 to 1.07 looks to be the range in which Chubb could be selected. For what it’s worth, Chubb didn’t fall past the sixth spot in any of the ten post-draft mocks, so 1.06 seems like the latest he’ll fall in 1QB leagues.
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