Chuba Hubbard NFL Draft 2021 Prospect Profile: Downhill RB Could Thrive In Right Offense

This is The Game Day’s Chuba Hubbard NFL Draft 2021 Prospect Profile. After you read our Chuba Hubbard Scouting Report, Marcus Mosher’s first 2021 NFL Mock Draft for Round 1.

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Chuba Hubbard NFL Draft Prospect Profile

Chuba Hubbard NFL Draft Prospect Bio & Measurables

  • School: Oklahoma State
  • Class in Final Season: Redshirt Junior
  • Age on NFL Draft Day: 21 Years
  • Height: 6-foot
  • Weight: 207 lbs.

Chuba Hubbard Scouting Report

Strengths

  • Above-average acceleration and burst
  • Terrific in open-space
  • Patient behind the line of scrimmage; will wait for the play to develop and hole to open up before attacking
  • Above-average vision
  • Track-star speed
  • Physical as a ball-carrier
  • Can make plays in open space
  • Slowed-down upon contact
  • Lack of versatility, which is a handicap at the pro level to be an every-down back

Needs Improvement

  • Did not develop in the passing game
  • Questionable hands
  • Liability in pass-protection — can be knocked off-balance easily by incoming rusher
  • Does not bring the same physicality in blitz pickup as he does with the ball in his hands
  • Struggles if he has to make plays and create hards on his own
  • Below-average balance after contact
  • Below-average in breaking tackles
  • Needs to get to the second-level to thrive –has an inability to make players miss in the backfield

Chuba Hubbard NFL Outlook

Chuba Hubbard was sensational in his 2019 campaign at Oklahoma State. He accumulated 2,094 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns as a runner but only 198 yards on 23-of-31 targets as a receiver. Despite his pop-year in 2019, Hubbard fell off in 2020 in which he only posted 625 rushing yards and six touchdowns as a runner while logging a meager 52 yards on 8-of-10 targets as a pass-catcher.

Hubbard averaged an outstanding 6.4 yards per carry in 2019 which regressed to 4.7 yards per tote in 2020 — a drop-off of 1.7 yards.

While Hubbard possesses the traits to succeed in the NFL, his lack of versatility in college will initially hurt him at the pro level. Although he can ultimately develop, he has not flashed enough in the passing game either as a receiver or a blocker at Oklahoma State to show that he can actually pull off a turnaround at the next level.

A patient runner in the backfield who can make plays once he reaches the second and third level, Hubbard does have his limitations. He falters upon contact, and his lack of abilities in the passing game will take him off the field in passing situations in the pros, limiting his ceiling.

Between 2019 and 2020 at Oklahoma State, Hubbard had a massive regression both statistically and in the efficiency categories, which cannot be ignored. While he does have massive upside, realistically, we are looking at a No. 2 back in an RBBC or a role player in the NFL.

Hubbard’s landing spot also makes a difference. In 2020, Oklahoma State’s offense did not have its best year overall, which could explain Hubbard’s regressions. However, this indicates that Hubbard needs a top-end offensive line in front of him to thrive and to exploit his speedy skillset. If Hubbard did not need an above-average supporting cast around him, he would have overcome Oklahoma State’s 2020 deficiencies to a stronger degree.

If Hubbard lands with an NFL team with a bottom-feeding offensive line, he may have a hard time finding his place at the pro level. However, if he lands with a team with an average-to-above-average front five that happens to run a zone-running scheme, he could make an early impact in his first year as a pro.

Hubbard is most certainly landing-spot-dependent to ensure his success in the NFL.


Chuba Hubbard NFL Comparison

Tevin Coleman: I have seen many comparisons between Chuba Hubbard’s scouting report and impending free-agent RB Tevin Coleman. Diving in deeper, I see why. Not only are both backs similarly built in stature, but both Coleman and Hubbard thrive in a zone-running scheme.

While Coleman has flashed as a starter in the NFL, he has played his best football as a No. 2 or complementary back, which fits Hubbard’s skillset. And although Coleman is said to be an upside receiver out of the backfield, he has never corraled more than 32 passes in a single season. I’d say Coleman is an overrated receiver at best.

Hubbard’s comp to Coleman fits. Both are speedy players with a questionable role in the passing game

I have also seen Hubbard comped to Phillip Lindsay, but the latter is a smaller, lighter back with better hands.


Chuba Hubbard NFL Team Fits

San Francisco 49ers

Since I am comparing Hubbard to Tevin Coleman, the natural landing spot is the 49ers. Although the 49ers are seemingly always loaded at running back, I would attribute their success to HC Kyle Shanahan’s zone-running system more than the talent.

Moreover, the two veterans of San Francisco’s backfield, Coleman and Jerick McKinnon, are impending unrestricted free agents, which means Jeff Wilson, Raheem Mostert, and JaMycal Hasty are the only notable backs remaining under contract.

This opens up room for the 49ers to acquire a running back this offseason. A team with more needs than in their backfield, the 49ers would be able to secure Hubbard with a late-second-day pick or an early Day 3 selection. Plus, San Fran would not be on the hook for anything more than a rookie deal while vastly improving its running back room with a player who can prosper in their system.

Atlanta Falcons

While the 49ers are a sure-fire fit for Hubbard, I do have one better: the Falcons. This offseason, Atlanta signed former Titans OC Arthur Smith as its new head coach. Smith is another coach who deploys a zone-running scheme, much like the one Hubbard thrived under at Oklahoma State.

While Smith did have Derrick Henry, one of the NFL’s premier backs, at his disposal, we can’t deny how effective the zone-running scheme has been in the league. The Falcons are 30th in salary cap space and in the hole $31.7 million. With holes and needs on both sides of the football, the Falcons would be wise to address running back in the draft.

They also carry a vast need for new blood in the Atlanta running back room. Not only are both Todd Gurley and Brian Hill free agents, but they were not effective during their tenure with the Falcons. Since both of the aforementioned backs are set the hip the open market, the only backs left under contract for the Falcons are Ito Smith and Qadree Ollison.

In Smith’s system, Hubbard would not only likely secure an immediate role, albeit won’t be in an every-down role, but he would be able to make an early impact in year-one in the NFL as well.

Update:

Although he popped in 2019, Chuba Hubbard mightily regressed in 2020, crediting his drop-off in efficiency and production to multiple surgeries. Because he is not one of the bigger running backs in this year’s draft class, plus, his aforementioned injury concerns, Hubbard could ultimately fall to day three of the 2021 NFL Draft. However, I still would not rule out a day-two selection due to his massive upside if his game comes to fruition and flourishes at the next level.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Now that the first two waves of free agency are behind us, we know what teams need entering NFL Draft season. At running back, the Falcons still need one. So does the Steelers. While both the Falcons and Steelers signed Mike Davis and Kalen Ballage respectively, neither back are long-term answers.

For the Steelers, they are a team with ample needs. They also don’t have a ton of cap space. Many believe the Steelers could select a running back early in the draft. However, the bigger offensive need is in the trenches following the losses of Alejandro Villanueva and Maurkice Pouncey. The wise move is for the Steelers to address the offensive line, linebacker, and dare I say, quarterback, early in the draft process while targeting running back on day three.

If Hubbard falls to day three, which is the expectation, the Steelers would be wise to select him. Not only does he possess a differing skillset than the backs currently under contract, but arguably, Hubbard would enter day three with the highest ceiling of all remaining running back prospects.


Chuba Hubbard NFL Draft Prediction

Round 4, Pick 99 overall: Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons make way too much sense for me to not project them as my top landing spot for Chuba Hubbard. They check all three boxes: (1) need, (2) cap room prohibiting them from attacking the position with a lucrative free-agent signing; and (3) offensive system fit.

Sure, the Falcons can add a value free-agent back or even draft one earlier, but Hubbard is a pseudo-value in the fourth round, especially if he lives up to the hype and goes off at the combine. While he does have his shortcomings as an all-purpose player in the league, he has the skill set to flourish as an early-down rumbler on a downhill zone-running club.

Hubbard was one of the premier backs in the nation back in 2019. His upside flashed immensely. If we’ve seen that upside, 32 NFL teams have also. If Hubbard does indeed fall to the third day of the 2021 NFL Draft, there is a good chance other teams will be aggressively trying to snag him. Atlanta could trade up to get him as soon as in the late third.

Update:

Round 4, Pick 128: Pittsburgh Steelers

While I do believe the Falcons could still take Chuba Hubbard with the 99th overall pick, the Falcons can get by with Mike Davis despite the fact that he is not a long-term answer. The Steelers are a team with two picks in the fourth round (128, 140). There is a scenario in which they package those selections to move up and take Hubbard if he is high enough on their draft board.

While James Conner remains on the open free-agent market, I don’t see the Steelers bringing him back considering his potential price tag and injury issues. This leaves them with Benny Snell, Anthony McFarland, and Kalen Ballage. Before the Falcons signed Davis, I could cringe looking at their running back depth chart. While he is by no means a stud, we know he can get the job done when his number is called. In the wake of the Davis signing, the Steelers now have the cringe-worthy backfield. Hubbard’s addition would bring some pop and sizzle to a running back room that lacks… well, it just lacks.


Chuba Hubbard NFL Draft Bet

At BetMGM, the only NFL Draft prop that I am finding pertains to who will be selected No. 1 overall. Chuba Hubbard is listed at (+20000). While the odds are ridiculous, there is a reason for them being so favorable. Hubbard is one of the biggest longshots you can place a wager on.

Hubbard is projected as a late Day 2 or an early Day 3 pick. His lack of versatility in the passing game diminishes his value at the pro level as does his statistical regression at Oklahoma State from 2019-to-2020.

Unless he absolutely astonishes at the NFL Scouting Combine, he has no shot to catapult his draft stock to the first round, never mind the No. 1 overall pick.

Update:

Who will be the first running back selected in the 2021 NFL Draft?

While Chuba Hubbard has odds in this wager (+5000), I would advise against taking them. Hubbard is a projected day-three pick with day-two upside at best, never mind being the No. 1 back off the board in a class with Najee Harris (-150), Travis Etienne (+175), and Javonte Williams (+400).

If I had to make a bet out of those three backs, I would take Etienne with his (+175) odds. Running back is normally a crapshoot unless there is a Saquon Barkley or an Ezekiel Elliott in the class. Last year, we all thought Jonathan Taylor would be the first back taken and it turned out to be Clyde Edwards-Helaire. While Etienne has the second-best odds to be taken as the first back off the board, his odds are favorable and his skillset screams luxury pick. We can see a win-now team reach for him over Harris for his home run hitting ability.

Player Prop

+175

Travis Etienne To Be First Running Back Drafted in 2021 NFL Draft

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Now that you’ve read our Chuba Hubbard 2021 Draft Prospect scouting report, stay tuned after the 2021 NFL Draft for his impact on betting lines, odds and tips for his likely NFL team.

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