The Cleveland Browns are set to explode out of the gate in 2023 with talent all over the field, though one man figures to carry the load more so than any other.
Nick Chubb has been one of the best running backs in the NFL for several years, earning Pro Bowl nods in each of the last four seasons. He will enter the upcoming campaign behind arguably the best offensive line in the league and paired up with a three-time Pro Bowl quarterback in Deshaun Watson, who should be back to form after a tumultuous two years of his own making.
Cleveland has invested heavily in the now, trading this offseason for wide receiver Elijah Moore and edge rusher Za’Darius Smith while also signing defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson to a massive contract to plug up the middle. As a result, the Browns are as primed for a Super Bowl push as they have been in decades, and Chubb is arguably the key to unlocking that championship potential.
The running back has sniffed a rushing title on multiple occasions during his five-year NFL career and if he can make the leap from Pro Bowler to All-Pro in 2023, he might just carry Cleveland to heights it has never achieved during the Super Bowl era. That is precisely what Chubb is expected to do, according to a prediction from Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report.
Browns Projected to Increase Nick Chubb’s Work Load in 2023
Moton laid out his argument on Tuesday, May 23, for why Chubb will transition from elite rusher to the game’s absolute best during his sixth professional campaign.
The Browns haven’t re-signed running back Kareem Hunt, who recorded at least 560 yards and four touchdowns from scrimmage in each of the previous three terms with the team.
The Athletic’s Zac Jackson expects second-year running back Jerome Ford to fill in the gaps behind Chubb in the backfield. Ford has a lot to prove, though. In 2022, he only registered eight carries for 12 yards. Because of his inexperience, Chubb will probably handle the lion’s share of the touches out of the backfield until one of the Browns’ backup running backs proves capable of making the most out of limited action.
In all three seasons under head coach Kevin Stefanski, Cleveland has ranked within the top nine in rush attempts, which gives Chubb a shot to rack up eye-popping numbers.
Nick Chubb Recorded Career Numbers in Cleveland in 2022
Chubb has been excellent from his first snap in the league after the Browns selected him with the No. 35 overall pick in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He has produced 1,000-yard campaigns rushing in every one of his professional seasons, save for his rookie year when he ran for 996 yards.
Moderate injury concerns cost Chubb four games in 2020 and three games in 2021, causing minimal ebbs in his production during those years. However, he played in all 17 contests last season and put up career-highs of 1,525 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns, per Pro Football Reference. It was the first time in his career that Chubb eclipsed 300 carries (302). He also caught 27 passes for 239 yards and a score.
Chubb was technically an All-Pro last season, named to the second-team after receiving votes, though not as many as running back Josh Jacobs of the Las Vegas Raiders who captured first-team honors. It stands to reason that Chubb can best his career highs from 2022 with more work this season due to Hunt’s likely departure.
A little more production in 2023 should put Chubb over the top from an All-Pro standpoint and may be enough to push the Browns over the top of their team goals as well.