Round 3: Georgia RB Nick Chubb – 5-11, 228 – 4.52 – Senior
Previous pick: Humboldt State OL Alex Cappa
The Buccaneers select a running back with their third-round pick, but instead of the speedier Penny in the second round of PewterReport.com’s last mock draft, the team opts for the tackle-breaking Chubb. Tampa Bay would be lucky to have Chubb slide to the third round, but that’s where Pro Bowlers Kareem Hunt and Alvin Kamara were selected last year. Still, Licht might have to trade up in the second round to get Chubb, which is what he did to come away with two second-round picks in 2015 and ’16.
At 5-foot-11, 228 pounds and running with a low center of gravity, Chubb is a load to break down as he wrecked havoc in the SEC for the better part of four years. As a true freshman, Chubb took over as Georgia’s starter for Todd Gurley, who was suspended and then shortly tore his ACL thereafter, and rushed for 1,547 yards and 15 touchdowns. He would finish with 44 touchdowns and 4,769 career yards as the second-leading rusher in SEC history behind only Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker, who rushed for 5,259 yards in just three seasons at Georgia.
Despite splitting carries with Sony Michel for four years, Chubb had 24 100-yard games in his Bulldogs career, including six 100-yard games last season and 13 straight from the last eight games of his freshman season to the first five games of his sophomore campaign until a serious knee injury against Tennessee sidelined him for the rest of 2015. Chubb had three 200-yard games at Georgia, including a career-high 266-yard, two-touchdown effort in the Belk Bowl against Louisville as a freshman, and a 222-yard, two-TD performance against North Carolina in 2016 in his first game back from knee surgery.
Despite a great effort against the Tar Heels, Chubb, who is a cousin of star North Carolina State defensive Bradley Chubb, wasn’t back to his old form during the 2016 season with just four carries and one catch over 20 yards. But he improved as the year went on, rushing for 142 yards and one touchdown while averaging 8.4 yards per carry in the Autozone Liberty Bowl win over TCU.
Chubb regained some of his burst last season with 12 runs of 20 yards or more, including a 55-yarder in a 15-carry, 151-yard (10.1 avg.) effort at Kentucky in which he also scored two touchdowns. Chubb also blasted through Oklahoma’s run defense in the Rose Bowl with 145 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries (10.5 avg.).
Chubb’s Georgia Career Rushing Stats
2017: 223 carries for 1,345 yards (6.0 avg.) with 15 TDs and a long of 55 yards
2016: 224 carries for 1,130 yards (5.0 avg.) with 8 TDs and a long of 55 yards
2015: 92 carries for 747 yards (8.1 avg.) with 7 TDs and a long of 83 yards
2014: 219 carries for 1,547 yards (7.1 avg.) with 14 TDs and a long of 83 yards
Chubb’s Georgia Career Receiving Stats
2017: 4 catches for 30 yards (7.5 avg.) with 0 TDs and a long of 11 yards
2016: 5 catches for 86 yards (17.2 avg.) with 3 TDs and a long of 49 yards
2015: 4 catches for 32 yards (8.0 avg.) with 1 TD and a long of 24 yards
2014: 18 catches for 213 yards (11.8 avg.) with 2 TDs and a long of 27
Many thought that Michel, who appears to have more burst and breakaway speed on tape, would run faster than Chubb at the NFL Scouting Combine, but Michel posted a 4.54 time in the 40-yard dash, while Chubb ran a 4.52. Chubb also was one of the top performers in the bench press (29 reps), vertical jump (38.5 inches) and broad jump (10’-6”), which showed off his explosiveness.
The NFL comp for Chubb is Kansas City Pro Bowler Kareem Hunt, who was the NFL’s leading rusher as a rookie last year. Both backs have an elusive quality about them and the leg strength to break tackles. Hunt ran a 4.62 at the NFL Scouting Combine and then ran in the high 4.5s at his pro day. If Chubb decides to run at the Georgia pro day I would expect a time of 4.5 or perhaps even 4.49.
Although they are similarly built, Chubb is not a carbon copy of Peyton Barber, who was the leading rusher in Tampa Bay last year. Barber, who has 4.6 speed, is more of a banger between the tackles, whereas Chubb has the speed to break off bigger runs and bounce runs outside. Both Barber and Chubb are underrated receivers, and Chubb showed he can catch the ball as a freshman, but Georgia opted to use Michel and D’Andre Swift in the pass-catching role over the past couple of years as a way to get them on the field.