Chuba Hubbard Draft Prospect Profile and Scouting Report

Oklahoma RB Chuba Hubbard is profiled leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft

Name: Chuba Hubbard

School: Oklahoma State University

Year:  redshirt Junior

Position: Running Back

Measurements:  6-0, 207lbs

 

STATS:

 

 

General Info:

Chuba Hubbard was born and raised in Canada and emerged as a three-star recruit during his high school career. He most notably had offers from Colorado State and Oklahoma State, and chose to head to Stillwater, Oklahoma. Overall, there wasn’t much attention paid to Hubbard nationally and he was pretty far down most running back rankings for his class.

At Oklahoma State, Hubbard was brought along slowly, redshirting his first year and splitting time the following year in 2018. He erupted in 2019 to the tune of 2,094 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns. This caught the eyes of many and led to Hubbard finishing 8th in the Heisman Trophy voting in 2019. Additionally, he was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and was a unanimous All-American after his 2019 campaign.

After playing just seven games and sputtering in 2020, Hubbard opted out to focus on the NFL Draft.

 

Positional Skills:

On tape, the lightning quick speed and home-run, big play ability is instantly noticeable with Hubbard. Chuba is a one cut, get running the hell downhill as quickly as possible type of back. He’s very good at getting skinny to navigate through tighter blocking holes that don’t completely come to fruition. His vision to find space and find holes that aren’t necessarily intended to where the play was going is a strength of his as well and was on display during his incredible 2019 season.

Because of his speed and athleticism, Hubbard keeps defenders on their toes once he reaches the second level of a defense. He doesn’t shy away from getting physical and he has a decent stiff arm, but he excels at planting his foot and bursting out of his cuts, relying heavily on his speed. Hubbard exudes confidence and has the thought that he can run by damn near anybody. We saw less of this in 2020 as he battled constant ankle injuries but did still see the glimmers that were always present in 2019.

There are a couple of glaring weaknesses to Hubbard’s game that stand out.

First, while it isn’t exactly his fault and it’s more of a product of the system he was in at Oklahoma State, Hubbard has not shown the capabilities to run routes out of the backfield outside of a quick swing pass, a flat route or bubbling out on a screen. Again, the potential could be there, it was just rarely if ever seen at Oklahoma State. And we know how much the Packers like lining up their backs on the outside and using them heavily in the passing game.

Hubbard never really showed vast improvement from year to year in Stillwater. He had the massive 2019 season after coming off a year in 2018 where he wasn’t getting all the carries, sure. But there weren’t big strides in the elevation and development of him as a running back. And that was perhaps most glaring in his pass blocking.

Hubbard struggles in pass protection and to be quite honest, on tape some of it looks effort based. There’s a certain disinterest that appears because when running the ball, Hubbard will get physical even if it doesn’t end up working out in his favor. However when pass protecting, he struggled to dig in and hold his ground when asked to a lot of the time. Maybe it’s something NFL coaches can engrain in his mind, that if he wants to get the ball he needs to pass protect and invest in it just as much as he does the running game.

Finally, Chuba falls victim to something a lot of really good athletes do, which is, relying so much on their pure athleticism that they don’t work out the finer parts of their craft to fully rounding out their ultimate potential.

Hubbard sometimes cuts off the wrong foot, it seems minor but over time it becomes a bigger issue and while you can get away with it in college, in the NFL those holes close faster so when you have a hiccup like cutting incorrectly it can spell trouble. Chuba often doesn't have the patience to wait for his blocks to develop. On tape, he looks so giddy to showcase his speed that he gets ahead of himself instead of waiting for the play to unfold for him. These are weaknesses but ones that seem fixable with the right coaches being in his ear.

 

Fit with the Packers:

Chuba Hubbard would make sense for the Packers from a couple of standpoints that quite frankly don’t have much to do with Chuba Hubbard but, more the circumstances the Packers find themselves in at running back and where he is projected to go.

Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams have both entered the unrestricted free agency arena. Odds are that someone will give the bag to Aaron Jones and if we want to have the reality check, look in the mirror moment, it probably won’t be Green Bay. They are trying to wiggle free room to navigate in free agency and having drafted A.J. Dillon in the second round in 2020, maybe this is exactly what they saw coming. Jones may draw too lucrative an offer to pass up on whatever Green Bay is able to formulate. Jamaal Williams figures to be less costly and there would appear to be from a financial standpoint, a stronger likelihood he comes back compared to No. 33. This brings us to the draft and Chuba Hubbard.

The Packers have other needs that will need addressing via the draft. It would be nothing short of shocking to see them use a first or second round pick on a running back this year. But they will likely need depth at the position and will have slots to fill. Enter Chuba Hubbard.

While Hubbard’s play in 2020 before he opted out came nowhere close to what we saw in 2019, he still brings an appetizing option to the table. If the Packers swing and miss on both Jones and Williams in free agency, they will be looking for a backup to Dillon that sees time right away, not just a roster filler. Hubbard doesn’t really fall into the category of a “project” back at the next level. In other words, there may not be much untapped potential left but what is already there may be good enough.

Hubbard could slot in as a change of pace in the Packers backfield for a couple of series’ each Sunday. The thought of using him as a third down back wouldn’t be playing him to his true strengths as he isn’t a great pass blocker and wasn’t used as a pass catching back at Oklahoma State hardly ever. Giving him a full series on a couple drives each Sunday to offer rest to the starter (in this scenario Dillon) is where he could thrive most and it’s what the Packers had done with Jamaal Williams in 2020 with the dynamic of him and Aaron Jones in the backfield.

The Packers drafted a lot of players in 2020 with an eye and mind looking ahead to the future. Then they went 13-3 and hosted the NFC Championship. They need to flip the blueprint in the draft this year and take instant impact, ready to go now guys. A middle round pick used on Chuba Hubbard gives you a running back who doesn’t have raw talent and is already strongly established. He can be put in, not as a feature back, but a change of pace back that is used to offer a different look for the Packers offense and present a brief rest for the starting bellcow back.

 

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Comments (7)

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stockholder's picture

February 23, 2021 at 06:11 pm

Nice write up. I like him.

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Leatherhead's picture

February 23, 2021 at 07:45 pm

We should give him #36, like former Packer Cal Hubbard, the only guy enshrined in Canton and Springfield.

He lost two fumbles in 2018. None since. About 600 touches without coughing up the rock. Nice. A probable Day 2 pick, IMO.

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splitpea1's picture

February 23, 2021 at 08:05 pm

I'm not seeing the congruence as stated in the last paragraph; if we're looking for an instant impact, he has to be more than a change of pace back for a couple of series each game. Besides, if his pass blocking and catching skills are undeveloped, I can't see MLF putting him in there right away. We saw how limited Dillon's opportunities were, though some of that was due to him being sidelined. The Packers need to add a reliable receiving threat out of the backfield in some way, shape, or form.

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The_Justicar's picture

February 23, 2021 at 09:26 pm

Prefer other rbs to Hubbard.

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PeteK's picture

February 24, 2021 at 08:02 am

Swing, flat, and screen routes were the main routes that Jones ran. I like him as one of our possibly 4th round picks.

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MarkinMadison's picture

February 24, 2021 at 09:22 am

If you can't or won't pass block you will never see the field as long as #12 is the QB. Doubly true this year with the OL looking a little unstable. I don't think this is a good fit.

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GatorJason's picture

February 24, 2021 at 06:22 pm

Chuba's a good runner. He just can't pass protect and struggles catching the ball. I'd take my chances with guys on the roster before adding him to the mix unless they can get him for 6th rounder. Jermar Jefferson is the guy the Packers are targeting for the 3rd round. He can do everything but there's less than 50/50 chance JJ will still be there at the end of the 3rd. Brian will need to do some draft pick horse trading to get the guy they want.

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