2. Nick Chubb, Running Back
One thing that stood out when watching the way the Minnesota Vikings changed when Kevin Stefanski took over was their commitment to running the ball. He was promoted late in the 2018 season after Mike Zimmer fired John DeFilippo. With DeFilippo calling plays, the Vikings were extremely pass-happy and it had become an issue.
Their play-calling was reminiscent of what we saw in 2019 with the Browns where they would abandon the run even when it was working and leave their quarterback in the pocket too long on slow-developing plays. That changed under Stefanski as they focused more on the physical running game which didn’t leave Kirk Cousins open to as many hits.
Looking at the Browns’ 2020 roster they have the ability to be even better on the ground than Minnesota — and that’s saying something. Dalvin Cook finished last year with 1,135 yards and 13 touchdowns while rookie Alexander Mattison added another 462 yards and a score. There will probably be a closer split in carries for the Browns with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt in the same backfield but Chubb is the player who really looks poised to dominate in this offense.
He’s similar to Cook in the fact that he’s a bell-cow back that gets better the more touches he gets. As the games go on, Chubb seems to get stronger, faster, and harder to tackle. Stefanski’s commitment to the ground game will help him as he aims to claim the rushing title that barely eluded him in 2019.