2017 NFL Draft Player Preview: Nick Chubb

  • Nick Chubb, 5-10/220

  • Running Back

  • Georgia

  • Nick Chubb 2016 Preview
    By Charlie Campbell

    Career Recap: Nobody was expecting a backup freshman running back to take the SEC by storm in 2014, especially when the starting running back was superstar Todd Gurley, but that is exactly what Chubb did. Gurley missed time with a suspension that season before tearing an ACL to end his year early. Chubb was a phenomenal fill-in during 2014, averaging 7.1 yards per carry for 1,547 yards with 14 touchdowns. He also caught 18 receptions for 213 yards and two scores.

    With Gurley in the NFL in 2015, Chubb took over as the feature back for the Bulldogs and picked up where he left off as a freshman. The sophomore averaged 8.1 yards per carry for 747 yards and seven touchdowns in only five games. He also had four receptions for 32 yards and a score. Chubb ran for 146 yards on 20 carries with a touchdown against eventual National Champion Alabama in his final complete game of the year. During the sixth game of the season, against Tennessee, Chubb tore his ACL. That caused him to miss the final seven contests.

    2016 Season Outlook: Chubb has stated that he plans to be ready to play in the 2016 season opener against North Carolina. That is a quality opponent to open the season with, and Georgia could definitely use Chubb for that contest. Chubb will see some good defensive tests and tough linebackers in the 2016 season. That group includes Tennessee’s Jalen Reeves-Maybin, South Carolina’s Skai Moore and Florida’s Jarrad Davis. The Gators’ defense could be Chubb’s toughest challenge in the 2016 season.

    Skill-Set Summary: In recent years, the running back position has started to make a comeback in the first round of the NFL Draft. After going a few years without a first-round back, Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon broke through in 2015. Ezekiel Elliott kept the trend going in 2016, and the 2017 NFL Draft could be a banner year for running backs. Between Chubb, Leonard Fournette and Dalvin Cook, there could be three first-round picks at the position.

    As a runner, Chubb is impossible not to like. He is akin to a human bowling ball, rolling over tacklers and and being a physical force in the tackle box. Chubb is a powerful runner who also has the quickness to rip off yards in chunks. With his thick build and low center of gravity, he has tremendous balance that allows him to maintain his feet after contact. Chubb is superb at picking up yards after contact and breaking tackles. His ability to shed defenders and accelerate downfield is very rare.

    Chubb has a real burst to the hole and acceleration to the second-level defense. He uses that speed to consistently break runs into sizable gains. His body lean and ability to run behind his pads is excellent. That makes it very difficult for defenders to get a hold of Chubb and get him to the ground. He has shown quality ball security as well.

    There are a few things that Chubb needs to show NFL teams to bolster his first-round hopes. The first is being healthy and returning to his pre-injury form. Losing some of his speed and explosion could send Chubb to the second day of the 2017 NFL Draft. The other area is the passing game. Chubb has flashed some receiving skills, but Georgia hasn’t thrown him the ball very much. Illustrating that he function as a receiver and has the potential to be a blitz protector would help his grade.

    I think Chubb could become a three-down starter and a devastating runner in the NFL. If Chubb is the same player as before his injury, he could be a special talent who transforms a pro offense with a physical rushing attack.

    2017 NFL Draft Expectations: If Chubb returns to his pre-injury form, I think he will grade out as a first-round pick. If he loses some speed or explosion, he could end up going on the second day of the 2017 NFL Draft.


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