The 2018 NFL Draft Prospect series breaks down draft-eligible players, highlighting their college production as well as their NFL potential. Daily fantasy players should know about NFL rookies before they’ve played a down of professional football because they are among the most misvalued assets in all of DFS. People who know NFL rookies have a significant DFS edge. The draft will be held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, from April 26-28.
This piece is on Georgia running back Nick Chubb.
For more on all the other backs in the class, see our 2018 NFL draft running back rankings.
Updated as of Mar. 3.
Senior | 5’11″ and 227 Pounds | Born December 27, 1995 (Age: 22) | Projection: Rounds 1-2
Combine numbers: 40-yard: 4.52 sec | bench reps: 29 | 3-cone: 7.09 sec | 20-yard shuttle: 4.25 sec | vertical: 38.5 in | broad: 128.0 in
In 2014, Chubb looked like the No. 1 running back prospect of the 2017 draft — and now most draftniks have him as no higher than the No. 3 back of the 2018 class. That’s what a massive injury, a loathsome timeshare, and an extra year of college will do to a great running back’s draft stock. Chubb arrived at Georgia in 2014 as the No. 7 running back recruit in the nation, and he immediately became the backup to starter Todd Gurley, who missed four games to suspension and then three more with an ACL tear. In his seven Gurley-less games, Chubb balled out with 187.6 yards and 1.6 touchdowns from scrimmage per game. For the season he had 1,760 yards and 16 touchdowns, earning SEC Freshman of the Year and being named to the All-SEC first team. He looked like a future NFL superstar.
And then in 2015, after averaging 155.4 yards and 1.6 touchdowns from scrimmage through the first five games of the season, Chubb suffered a grotesque knee injury on the first carry of his sixth game. He didn’t tear his ACL or suffer nerve damage, but he tore his MCL, PCL, and LCL and was done for the year. Chubb returned to action in 2016, and he was respectable with 1,206 yards and nine touchdowns, but he was far less explosive, averaging just 5.0 yards per carry vs. 7.4 as a freshman and sophomore, and he also found himself in a committee with the impressive Sony Michel. Desirous to improve his draft stock, Chubb returned to Georgia for a fourth season and played well. His raw numbers in 2017 were better — 1,375 yards and 15 touchdowns — and he rushed for 6.0 yards per carry. Another year removed from his knee injury, Chubb displayed great athleticism at the combine and catapulted himself into the Day 1 conversation. As long as nothing negative showed up in his combine medical exam, he should easily be a top-100 pick. Last year he was fifth in the nation with a 96.2 elusive rating (Pro Football Focus).
For his career, Chubb combined with Michel to break the all-time teammate rushing record held by the Pony Express since 1982. Eric Dickerson and Craig James combined for 8,192 career rushing yards on 1,565 carries across their four years together at Southern Methodist. Chubb and Michel had 8,382 with 217 fewer carries. In a program that has seen great performance across the decades from Gurley, Herschel Walker, Garrison Hearst, Knowshon Moreno, and a whole bunch of guys from the ’40s and ’50s, neither Chubb nor Michel can reasonably be said to be the best back in school history — but together they might be the greatest running duo in the annals of college football.
Throughout the draft process, Chubb will likely be compared to Michel, just as Auburn teammates Ronnie Brown and Carnell Williams were in 2005 and Arkansas teammates Darren McFadden and Felix Jones were in 2008. After his terrific combine performance, Chubb seems like the backfield’s frontrunner.