The Future 2021 NFL Draft Prospects: Chuba Hubbard
Chuba Hubbard could've entered the NFL Draft after his 2019 season where he ran for over 2000 yards and 23 touchdowns and he would've been a 2nd or 3rd round draft pick but after coming back for his 2020 season his draft stock fell. I have him ranked at 6th and I don't see him moving up any time soon. He is an outstanding athlete where he ran track and recorded a 100 meter dash time of 10.6 seconds so his straight-line speed is elite. He would fit perfectly in a zone scheme where he can use his burst, acceleration, and speed and has a lot of success in one-cut scenarios. He will need to improve his 3rd down ability as both a pass catcher and pass protector if he wants to become a consistent threat in the NFL. Below I'll discuss his ability to create and his vision, his burst, how well he can finish and gain yards after contact, how well he plays in the passing game, and his ball security and ability to pass protect.
Vision/Create- Hubbard is patient and shows good vision to find holes, there are times where he does fail to see open lanes though so he needs to be more consistent there. He utilizes a very dynamic jump cut, it often allows him to deceive defenders into thinking he is going through one hole which will open others up. His vision is usually at its best when looking for cut-back lanes and when he is in the open field to find green grass. In the open field, his elusiveness is solid but he will often win with his speed.
Burst- This is the best part of his game. Having been a track runner for longer than a football player his ability to get to top speed is very good and then his top speed is elite. When he gets to the 2nd and 3rd levels of the field there aren't many defenders who can match his speed and track him down. His speed/burst allows him to beat defender's angles when bouncing runs to the outside. He has also shown that he is quick to get in and out of his cuts to fake out defenders and can stop on a dime.
Finish/YAC- At 6'0, 207 is doesn't have the biggest frame but he consistently shows a good pad level and a strong lower body to finish runs and fight for extra yards. He isn't going to be a power back at the next level and there are times where he gets brought down by the first defender to make solid contact with him. His contact balance is fantastic at times and there are other times where he leaves you wanting more so he will need to show more consistency in this area of his game.
Passing Game- In three years at Oklahoma State he recorded only 53 receptions. He has been solid at best in his limited usage as a receiving back. He isn't a natural pass catcher and there are times where he looks uncomfortable when catching passes out of the backfield. He is dynamic with the ball in his hands, especially in the open field so it is surprising how little he was used in the passing game, even just on screens and manufactured touches. If he can improve upon his hands and his ability to pass protect he can become a reliable three-down back.
Ball Security/Blocking- He struggles with fumbling the ball his entire career where he fumbled the ball 9 times from 2018-2019 and then twice more in 2020. This is a red flag and is going to be a concern for most NFL teams. In pass protection, he doesn't bring the same type of physicality that he uses when running the ball. He likes to cut block which leads to it being all or nothing where he completely stops the rushing or misses and allows a free rusher to his quarterback. This is the area of his game he needs to improve upon the most because if he can't, his ceiling would be that of a two-down back who isn't the most powerful.
Hubbard's 2019 tape is a lot better than his 2020 tape but either way, he is going to fall in the draft and unless he can improve upon his third-down ability he isn't going to be a featured back in the NFL. As of now, I see him being a part of a running back committee where he can handle being the 2nd option in a 1-2 punch.