Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb emerged as a rising star in his rookie season, but he did so while facing loaded boxes.
Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb may not have started the season as the No. 1 running back, or even as the backup running back, but he still managed to finish with the 10th most rushing yards in the NFL.
Chubb showed an explosiveness that helped him run away from defenders and break big runs, including a 92-yard touchdown. But he also showed the strength to break arm tackles in tight quarters to create chunk plays.
Pro Football Focus graded Chubb as the second-best running back when facing a box with eight or more defenders, trailing only Melvin Gordon of the Los Angeles Chargers.
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Chubb emerged as a rising star because he has the abilities of an all-around back. He has the speed to outrun most defenders, but he possesses the strength to run through tight running lanes.
Chubb was able to utilize his talent to rush for 996 yards and eight touchdowns on 192 carries. He did reach the 1,000 yard milestone during the final game of the season. But on his final carry of the season, Chubb took a five-yard loss, which knocked him back down to under 1,000 rushing yards for the season.
Even though Chubb proved last season that he can make plays despite a loaded box, he may not have to deal with that often in 2019. With Odell Beckham Jr. now Cleveland’s No. 1 wide receiver, defenses can’t key in on Chubb and the Browns running game. If they attempt to, the Browns can pick them apart with the pass.
There may be concerns that Chubb will not be the team’s feature back once Kareem Hunt returns from suspension. However, the Browns can split carries with both backs and keep both fresh for all four quarters, making them more effective throughout the course of a game.
The Browns offense is expected to be one of the most explosive in the NFL because of the potential of the passing attack. But with Chubb leading the rushing attack, they could also boast one of the best rushing offenses in the league as well.