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2018 NFL Draft Prospect: Nick Chubb

Nick Chubb may very well be playing his final collegiate game against Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl. It will cap off a magnificent career that could have potentially been even better had he not suffered a brutal injury his sophomore year.

Production

Chubb had his best season as a true freshman filling in for a then-suspended Todd Gurley. He rushed for over 1,500 yards and 14 touchdowns while averaging 7.1 yards per carry. Once Gurley went out, Chubb averaged 23.5 carries, 165 yards, 1.5 TDs, and 2.3 receptions per game. He also played the majority of this season at only 18 years old.

Through the first five games of his sophomore season he looked to be continuing that blistering pace, averaging 18.2 carries, 149 yards, and 1.4 TDs per game. On his first carry against Tennessee in the sixth game of the season, he suffered a gruesome injury that ultimately kept him out for the rest of the year. Chubb was fortunate, as many thought that his career may have been over. He didn’t suffer any nerve damage but did tear his MCL, PCL, and LCL.

He’s still managed to rush for over 1,100 yards in each of the past two seasons, even though he’s now in a timeshare with teammate Sony Michel. Here are Chubb’s market share numbers from this season:

  • 34% of rushing yards
  • 36% of rushing TDs
  • 32% of carries
  • 1% of receiving yards
  • 0% of receiving TDs
  • 2% of receptions

The numbers that jump out are obviously the receiving numbers because of how poor they are. I don’t think he’ll ever be an elite pass catcher at the next level, but he did have 18 catches his freshman year. Lastly, Chubb is a little bit older, having just turned 22 on December 27th. He did break out at a very young age, so age isn’t a major concern for me, but it is something worth noting.

Athleticism

I’ll preface this with saying that before his injury, Chubb was one of the top athletes in the nation. However, there’s no way to know how much the injury hurt his athletic ability, but he does look a little slower since then. Here were his results from Nike’s The Opening:

  • 5-foot-11, 217 pounds
  • 4.47 forty yard dash
  • 4.10 shuttle
  •  40.8-inch vertical
  • 43-foot powerball toss
  • 143.91 SPARQ Score (top in his class)

Chubb would’ve had a 109 Speed Score, which is a tremendous number for any back. NFL Draft Scout currently has him projected to run a 4.56, and at his current weight of 225 pounds this would give him a Speed Score of 104, still above average.  Chubb was also a standout track athlete who had the following times:

  • 10.69 100m (91st percentile for all running backs)
  • 21.83 200m (90%)
  • 55’08 shot put (95%)
  • 5’06 high jump (30%; he only did this event once)
  • 22’04 long jump (82%)

He clearly possessed elite speed before his injury, and his leaping ability was also well documented through his vertical and long jump. Chubb also has tremendous strength which can be seen through his shot put and powerball toss results. If Chubb is even 75 percent of the athlete he was in high school, he’ll likely still be a solid athlete in the NFL.

Final Thoughts

After his freshman season Chubb looked like he had the chance to be a generational type talent at the RB position. However, after his injury I’m not sure if this is still the case. I currently have him as my RB4 for the class behind Saquon Barkley, Derrius Guice, and Ronald Jones, but if he tests poorly and gets bad results from his medical evaluations at the combine, I may be forced to drop him lower. He’s easily worthy of a first-round rookie pick at this point, and if he goes to the right situation he could become a star.

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