In today’s NFL we are seeing a transition away from the bruising running backs like Derrick Henry, and we are watching the league shift to backs that can truthfully do it all. We see guys like Ezekiel Elliot, Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey, and Alvin Kamara dominate all aspects of the games week in and week out. But who’s the next running back to dominate Sundays?
Oklahoma State Running Back Chuba Hubbard is a name that many predict to have a future at the next level. So far though Hubbard just seems to be one of then most polarizing prospects in this draft process. Chuba had one of the most productive 2019 seasons of all the top running back prospects in this upcoming draft class. Hubbard’s stat line looked like this:
- 328 Rushing Attempts (1st in NCAA)
- 2,094 Rushing Yards (1st in NCAA)
- 21 Rushing TD’s (3rd in NCAA)
- 6.4 YPC (21st in NCAA)
Impressive stat line right? But Stats can lie, so today we are going to breakdown what Chuba Hubbard brings to the table, and if he can be a game changer at the next level.
The tools Chuba Hubbard would bring to an NFL offense are good ones. He is a very patient runner who uses his great vision to wait and find the perfect holes. Once he finds the holes, he uses his former track star speed and acceleration to hit the holes very quickly. Once he gets going, Chuba uses his incredible body control to gain those extra yards and make defenders miss. The things Chuba Hubbard can do when he has the ball in his hands is so shocking and jaw dropping at times and makes him look incredibly special. Hubbard uses that rare blend of speed, power, agility, and awareness to takeover games for the Mike Gundy led Cowboys.
Chuba also has experience playing, and dominating, one of the premier college football conferences. Which is great when you are looking at his college tape. In 2019 we saw Chuba pop off for 200 plus yards in 3 games, and over 100 yards in all of his games except one. He has shown that he can get the job done while playing against talent that will be playing on Sundays.
As great as Chuba Hubbard’s positives are, he does have a few negatives to be wary of if you are wanting him on your team. Hubbard does seem to have a bad case of the fumbles. In 2019 he fumbled it five times throughout the season. Which isn’t terrible considering his amount of volume, but it does seem to have carried over into this season also. Another thing Chuba struggles with is his ability to impact the passing game, whether that be in his blocking or his pass catching. His hands are not that soft when he gets targeted out of the backfield, and we have seen him struggle making routine catches. And in terms of his pass blocking, he seems to know who to block on most plays, he just doesn’t really seem to hit the defenders or even be that physical with them.
So far in Oklahoma State’s 2 games during the 2020 season, Chuba has looked pretty human compared to his 2019 stat line. His 6.4 ypc, has dropped down to a very modest 4.0 ypc, at the time of writing. He got benched for some of the game against West Virginia due to a bad case of the fumbles where he fumbled on back to back drives. And many have written Chuba out of the Heisman race due to his poor performance against Tulsa when he only managed 35 yards in the first half, and only 93 yards total.
Does any of this mean Chuba is terrible? No not really, however it does cause a feeling of underlying concern for a polarizing talent that was looking to rise up draft boards and separate himself from Najee Harris and Travis Etienne. Can a running back who struggles in the passing game translate to today’s NFL and be that feature back that so many think he can be?
Let me know what you think, is Chuba destined for greatness in the NFL or will he just be a piece in a running back committee?