Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb seems to be set up for success in 2020.
If there’s a Cleveland Browns player you should invest some stock in, it’s not Baker Mayfield. Rather it’s the guy who will be playing behind him in the backfield.
Nick Chubb was ranked seventh on a recent anonymous poll of the Top 50 running backs in the NFL, which should rub Browns fans the wrong way. Mina Kimes, a noted Seattle Seahawks fan, took on the role of surrogate Browns spokesperson and went to bat for why Chubb was ranked far too low.
After Cleveland added right tackle Jack Conklin and head coach Kevin Stefanski in the offseason, it’s hard to argue with Kimes. In an erratic, Freddie Kitchens-led offense, Chubb ranked second in the NFL in rushing yards with 1,494 and was easily Cleveland’s most consistent player.
While he did not produce much in the receiving game in 2019, he was one of the league’s most efficient runners, averaging 5.0 yards per carry. Kareem Hunt stills figures to be the main pass-catching back, but an improved offensive line and scheme could still help Chubb improve his numbers.
It’s still unclear how good the former Georgia Bulldog can be, but his sophomore season suggests that big things are coming. Cleveland ranked 22nd in total offense with Kitchens at the helm, and opposing teams had no reason to fear the passing game. Chubb still produced at an extraordinary level.
Lack of name recognition may have played a role in Chubb’s standing. He ranked behind Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott, Alvin Kamara, Derrick Henry, and Dalvin Cook, all of whom were either high draft picks or have been featured on playoff teams. However, a look at each player’s numbers shows that Chubb outperformed most of them in 2019.
McCaffrey and Henry both had better seasons, but Chubb significantly outperformed the rest in terms of rushing yards and yards per carry. Had the Browns finished with a better record, Chubb likely would have received much more recognition.
Reputation was certainly the main factor in these rankings, and Chubb has the perfect opportunity to build his in 2020. If he takes advantage of the factors Kimes listed, he could find himself near the top of this list a year from now.