Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb, fresh off of a new contract, is set up for a run at becoming the NFL’s rushing champion for the 2021 season.
Nick Chubb is primed for a great year in 2021, and has a few factors on his side for a bid at the 2021 NFL rushing champion crown. Fresh off of a contract extension that deservedly makes him one of the best-paid backs in football, Chubb has a strong team and circumstance on his side for the 2021 season.
In 2019 Nick Chubb finished just a few yards behind Derrick Henry for the rushing title, and though he missed four games in the 2020 season he was still among the eight running backs who reached 1,000 yards on the season.
What might be seen as a detractor for this achievement is the presence of Kareem Hunt, a running back who would start on most other teams, but having a reliable backup/shotgun setback has been a big reason why the Cleveland Browns were able to avoid overworking Chubb.
They’ve also significantly upgraded the offensive line since Chubb first arrived, finding a perfect unit for Bill Callahan to shape up for Kevin Stefanski’s zone run offensive schemes. With a better defense as well, the Browns should have plenty of opportunity and ability to run the ball in 2021, and Chubb will once again be the workhorse.
The back-to-back defending rushing champion, the aforementioned Henry, has shown no signs of decline yet, but ran the ball a ridiculous number of times last season. His 378 attempts ranks 19th all-time for rush attempts in a single season, and could indicate some serious wear and tear on his body for the upcoming campaign.
On top of the ludicrous workload Henry has carried for the Titans, there is also the matter of their acquisition of Julio Jones from the Atlanta Falcons. Jones, still an elite receiving talent at the age of 32, offers another great target alongside A.J. Brown for quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Tannehill has revived his career in Nashville and remains quietly one of the better passers in the league. Indications would suggest the Titans want to fix their over-reliance on the run game through Henry and may have to deal with their weakened defense. This all could be a boost for Chubb’s chances to lead the league in rushing.
Other candidates such as Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook come with worrying recent injury histories, and even more worrying offensive lines. It would seem that Henry is once again the favorite, but Chubb should have less pass-reliant offensive play calling.
Barring a major injury, this could be Chubb’s year to take over the league and claim the NFL rushing champion crown.