Nick Chubb Excelled With Odds Stacked Against Him

Getty Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb.

Nick Chubb established himself as one of the top running backs in the NFL last season after taking over the starting role, giving the Cleveland Browns a rising star in the backfield.

Chubb started nine games last season, rushing for 996 total yards. He would have eclipsed the much sought after 1,000-yard mark, but had his final carry of his rookie season go for a five-yard loss, knocking him back into the triple digits. Chubb had three 100-yard games, including a 176-yard outing against the Falcons in Week 10 on 20 carries.

But what made Chubb a unique talent is what he was able to do when teams were expecting the run and loaded up the box. Pro Football Focus rated Chubb as the second-highest back when there were eight-plus defenders in the box. Chubb graded out at 78.9 — the same as Rookie of the Year, Saquon Barkley. Chargers running back Melvin Gordon was the top rated back, with a grade of 83.

 

Nick Chubb Gives Cleveland Browns a Top-Tier RB

The latest bit of encouragement for the second-year Cleveland Browns back came from Maurice Jones Drew, a former All-Pro with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

MJD ranked all the starting running backs in the NFL and placed Chubb No. 9, just putting him in the top 10 ahead of the likes of Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings and his former Georgia teammate, Sony Michel, who’s now the lead back for the New England Patriots.

Here’s what Jones Drew had to say about Chubb:

Chubb burst onto the scene last year with some big runs and strong performances, while averaging 84.2 rushing yards in his nine starts. He’ll get the bulk of the team’s carries through the first half of the season, with free-agent addition Kareem Hunt serving an eight-game suspension. Hunt, who had more than 1,200 scrimmage yards and 14 total touchdowns in 11 games last season, will have a role in this offense when he becomes eligible, but I expect Chubb to remain the RB1 (at least for this season).
Taken 35th overall in the 2018 draft, the Georgia product showed enough promise last year for Cleveland to ship veteran Carlos Hyde out of town to give Chubb the No. 1 back workload.
Chubb will have a big workload to start the season, but some help will come for the second half of the season, when Kareem Hunt returns from his eight-game ban. In his first two seasons, Hunt has racked up 2,151 rushing yards, 833 receiving yards. He’s fumbled just once — which came on his first career carry.
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