Black Friday Sucks: Is Nick Chubb the Steal of the NFL Draft?
By Ha Kung Wong
People love deals. Don’t believe me? Just check out these ridiculous scenes from last year’s Black Friday sales.
Crazy, right? I mean, I like off-brand TVs made by companies I’ve never heard of before for pennies on the dollar as much as the next guy, but really? Do I need to wrestle them away from a little girl and then attack her mom? I mean, if it was an Xbox, sure, but for an Insignia brand TV? Hard pass.
Anyway, another thing that people love is the NFL, and I’m assuming that if you’re here reading this column, then you’re one of them. So I’m gonna assume that what you REALLY like are good deals in the NFL. And the best way to get a deal is via the NFL Draft. Maybe you’ve heard of some of them?
Perhaps legendary Broncos RB Terrell Davis, who was drafted in Round 6 of the 1996 Draft? Or the big time “Starr” before the NFL and AFL even joined, QB Bart Starr of the Packers, who was drafted Round 17 of the 1956 draft (Round 17?!?! I know, it sounds late, but there weren’t many teams back then, so that was actually only 200th overall). And how about another one from Denver, TE Shannon Sharpe, drafted in Round 7 of the 1990 Draft. And “Bo Knows” that being drafted late doesn’t mean you’re no good, as Bo Jackson was drafted in the 7th Round of the 1987 Draft. Of course, I can’t leave out everyone’s favorite (or least favorite depending on where you live) example of a late round steal, QB Tom Brady of the Patriots, who was drafted in the 6th Round of the 2000 Draft.
Well, I’m not going to go quite that deep, but I’m thinking of a player that can potentially be a game changer while being drafted in the 4th Round this year. And that player is Nick Chubb.
University of Georgia (Senior)
Weight: 227 lbs.
Arm Length: 32″
Hands: 9 5/8″
Sony Michel was the Georgia RB that’s been on most on people’s radar, especially after Georgia’s recent run up to the National Championship Game, but Nick Chubb has been a big part of their success on the ground over the last 4 years, and he only improved his stock at the Combine.
Arguably, his freshman year at Georgia in 2014 was his best averaging 7.1 yards per rush on 219 attempts and 14 rushing TDs, adding on 213 receiving yards and 2 receiving TDs, which was best in terms of total TDs and yards from scrimmage in all of the SEC. But the rest of his college career was also solid, ending with the 2nd most career rushing yards and 5th most career rushing TDs of any RB in SEC history.
Still having doubts? Well, check out his highlights from just his senior year alone. It’s nothing short of impressive (and I had to sit through that game where he helped Georgia beat my beloved Notre Dame, so if I can show appreciation for his skill, so can you).
Note that rarely will Chubb look to bounce outside the tackles, and for good reason. He shows incredible discipline and patience in keeping with the play, has a knack for finding gaps in the defensive line, and has enough strength to break arm tackles and move the ball North-South. The takeaway being that although he may not exhibit breakaway speed, he’s not going to take many negative plays, which is key to being a successful early down ball carrier. That’s not to say he can’t effectively attack the edge, but he’s a better one-cut-and-go runner.
His left knee injury in college (which included several ligaments, but was not the ACL) certainly impacted his explosiveness, so he’s not the fastest guy, but he’s a solid down hill power runner that can shake off tackles, and in the short term can also be a great goal line option. Plus he has 4 years of college experience under his belt. You just don’t see that anymore. And last, and you know I’m big on this, he has great ball security, with just 5 lost fumbles in 47 college games.
At the Combine
At the Combine, he did not disappoint. Among RBs, he tied for the most reps on Bench Press (29), had the 2nd longest broad jump (10’8″) and the 4th highest vertical jump (38.5).
Check out his running drills at the 51 second mark, where he looked crisp and showed some practical speed. Considering his power display on the bench, his speed in the 40 yard dash is actually pretty impressive. You don’t find that combination often.
Saquon Barkley and Nick Chubb really separated themselves from the rest of the RBs at the NFL Combine in the 40 yard dash and on the bench, putting their power on display #NFLDraft #DraftTwitter pic.twitter.com/iU4eP20KxX
— Keith Lott (@WeTlkFntsySprts) March 6, 2018
The only real concern is whether he can get back to catching passes and be an effective three down back in the NFL. Clearly, having that skill set has been important for recent top RBs in the NFL. Just look to Le’Veon Bell and fellow Bulldog Todd Gurley as examples. Chubb was prolific catching the ball before his knee injury, but never got back to that level in college. Part of that may be Sony Michel, but one has to wonder how effective he’ll be in 3rd and long situations where having the option to have your RB run a screen or a wheel route may be important.
Where Will He Land?
There are plenty of teams that could use a RB, but I believe the Browns, Colts, Giants, Jets and Buccaneers can benefit most from drafting Nick Chubb.
The Browns have 12 picks in the 2018 Draft, with 3 in the 2nd Round, 1 in the 3rd Round and 2 in the 4th Round. That might change a bit after they recently traded for Jarvis Landry, but the bottom line is if they decide to forgo Saquon Barley at 1 overall, they still have plenty of opportunity to upgrade at RB with Chubb in the 3rd or 4th Round. With Duke Johnson already an effective pass-catching back, it would be a low risk proposition for the Browns to grab Chubb in the Draft in hopes of making him an every down back, but with a reasonable running-back-by-committee if he doesn’t get in to the pass catching groove. However, with the Browns picking up QB Tyrod Taylor in free agency, I suspect they’ll now use their No. 1 pick on Barkley and take a QB at No. 4, meaning there’s no reason for them to draft Chubb.
The Colts have 7 picks, with 1 each in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Rounds. With Frank Gore gone, all they really have is Marlon Mack, who although showed some flash, also never got used to blocking, which led to a lot of negative plays. But as a part-time compliment to Chubb, perhaps that would be OK. The Colts definitely need to do something with their backfield, and spending a 3rd or 4th Round pick on Chubb may be the answer if they don’t go get help in free agency. A lot depends on Andrew Luck‘s health though, and I expect the Colts to focus on the O-line in the draft.
The Giants have 7 picks, with 1 each in the 2nd and 3rd Rounds and 2 in the 4th Round. I’ve also discussed this before when I talked about Barkley, but pairing Chubb with Wayne Gallman (who the Giants just drafted last year) may be a good consolation prize if the Browns scoop Barkley (which is looking more and more likely) leaving the Giants to take their pick of the QB class in the first round. With the recent trade for LB Alec Ogletree, it looks like the Giants are in “win now” mode, and winning now requires them to add an RB at some point. It also means that the Giants may go defense at no. 2 overall instead of QB, giving the Browns even more incentive to wait to get their QB of the future at no. 4.
The Jets have 8 picks, with 2 in the 2nd Round, and 1 each in the 3rd and 4th Rounds. I won’t reiterate what I said before, but in recap, Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire are complementary backs which could be a good thing to committee with Chubb.
And last, the Buccaneers have 8 picks with 1 each in Rounds 2, 3 and 4. RB is one of the Bucs biggest needs, and they’re unlikely to have a shot at Barkley. Maybe they take a shot at Ronald Jones, Derrius Guice or Royce Freeman, but with needs on the O-line, DE and at CB, they might want to get top prospects at those positions first and use their 3rd or 4th round pick on Chubb. With Doug Martin gone, all they really have is Peyton Barber, and he’s clearly not an every down option.
Bottom line is that some team should draft Chubb by the 3rd Round, but if he slips to the 4th, he’d be a certified steal, and relatively low risk for the investment.
And a much better deal than that Insignia TV that you would never buy for the full price of $199, but is suddenly the most coveted item in your life at $99…