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NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: RB Chuba Hubbard

  • The Draft Network
  • January 14, 2021
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PROSPECT SUMMARY – CHUBA HUBBARD

Chuba Hubbard was born in Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada, but grew up in Edmonton. His first introduction to sports came at the age of six, as he became a successful track runner. After constantly asking, his mother eventually let him play tackle football at 10 years old. From there, he became an instant star. In his final two years of high school football, he rushed for 5,308 yards and 63 touchdowns at Bev Facey Community High School. Colorado State was the first to offer him a scholarship and Oklahoma State followed shortly thereafter. Hubbard was only the second Edmonton area high school football player to earn an NCAA Division I scholarship in the last decade. Also continuing his ways as a track runner, he competed at the 2015 (summer) IAAF World Youth Championships in Cali, Colombia, placing fourth overall in the 100-meter sprint with a personal-best finish of 10.55 seconds in the semifinal. 

Eventually signing with the Cowboys, Hubbard went on to have a prolific career. One of the best rushers in school history, Hubbard is a patient and confident runner that runs well behind his pads. Keeping a low center of gravity, he’s a one cut and accelerate runner that’s had lots of success in the wide-open Air Raid offense. With adequate vision and the athleticism to take advantage of small spaces, he’s a threat that could thrive in a zone-based blocking scheme that leverages angles and relies on quick cuts from rushers. Hubbard’s biggest deficiencies come in the passing game, as he’s failed to become a reliable option in that department. A somewhat conflicted catcher of the ball, he can fight it and struggle to haul passes in. Also a liability as a pass protector, he doesn’t bring the same physicality as a blocker as he does when possessing the ball.

Ideal Role: No. 2 RB in a committee.

Scheme Fit: Zone-heavy scheme that involves lots of zone blocking run principles.

FILM EVALUATION

Written by Jordan Reid

Games watched: Tulsa (2020), Iowa State (2020), Texas (2020), West Virginia (2020), Oklahoma (2020), Kansas (2020)

Best Game Studied: Iowa State (2020), 2020 Kansas (2020)

Worst Game Studied: Tulsa (2020), Oklahoma (2020), West Virginia (2020)

Vision: Hubbard’s vision is a mixed bag, as he has reps where he sees cleanly and then others where he fails to see lanes opening. His running style is better suited in a zone-blocking scheme because of his patience and ability to make one cut that leads to him accelerating vertically. He becomes a bit impatient when following pullers and it results in him overrunning blockers before they are able to engage in blocks at the contact point.  

Footwork: Clean and active feet are often seen during his rush attempts as he can hide behind the line until lanes appear. Feeding off of his one-cut nature, he’s been able to take advantage of light boxes because of the dangerous threat of the team's vertical passing game.  

Contact Balance: High strength levels in his lower half have allowed him to avoid would-be tacklers even when they made contact with his body. Thick and stout legs and body overall enabled him to take on and avoid the contact dished out by defenses. He incorporates great pad level that allows him to fend off lots of contact and act as if it has little effect on his body. He demonstrates a body and shoulder lean tactic that helps him remain moving forward through contact.

Durability: During his final season, Hubbard battled an ankle injury that ultimately led to his decision to opt out. Prior to that point, he didn’t sustain any notable injuries that kept him from missing an extended period of time in college. In games, Hubbard has shown to be a rusher that’s capable of carrying a heavy workload—that includes a high number of carries while in a groove or when needed to close out games. Hubbard suffered a broken left fibula during his senior season of high school, but the injury didn’t require surgery. 

Explosiveness: He operates very well in tight spaces with the functional mobility to avoid quickly changing avenues. He's patient and able to avoid incoming collisions or defenders that are seeking and entering the box to wreak havoc. Hubbard is above average with taking the easy yardage that’s offered to him, but his quick mind plus body reactions enable him to pick up extra yards in tight spaces.  

Versatility: Hubbard has proven that he can maneuver from multiple platforms, as he rushed from the offset shotgun and pistol. His value in the passing game is a bit limited because of his lack of physicality as a blocker and periods of discomfort with catching the ball out of the backfield. He’s not a rusher that play-callers can build entire concepts around or take advantage of matchups against second- and third-level defenders. 

Elusiveness: Hubbard has the lower-half twitch and patience in order to react and jump from one hole to the next if the prior is cluttered. Sufficient lateral agility enables him to keep his shoulder square and jump-cut in desired directions before choosing a lane to accelerate through. Hubbard isn’t a runner who will consistently make third-level threats or safeties coming down off of the roof miss in space. Instead, he lowers his shoulder and hopes to withstand the contact that they are forcing upon him. 

Ball Security: Hanging onto the ball was a problem in spurts for Hubbard prior to last season. Recording four fumbles in 2018 and another five in 2019, the number shrunk to only two during his senior season. With both coming in one game (West Virginia), he otherwise improved in that area from his previous seasons. 

Passing Down Skills: His biggest improvements will need to come on third down, as he struggles as a pass protector. Hubbard relies on cut blocking and doesn’t show much physicality when welcoming contact as a blocker. His temperament as a runner vs. his aggression as a blocker are on two totally different levels. Because of his reliance as a cut blocker, he often misses, which has resulted in sacks (Tulsa 2020). His involvement in the passing game has been scarce, but it may be due to RBs hardly ever being a key piece in the offense as receivers. Despite that, Hubbard has shown to not be a natural hands-catcher when the ball does come in his direction.

Discipline: He understands the importance of blocking schemes and isn’t a runner that just runs just to be running. He's aware of how and where pullers are expected to maneuver and assignments that they are tasked with. He's able to remain patient, but accelerate once getting a proper read from blockers ahead of him. He has above-average vision and hardly ever misses running lanes when they appear. He allows holes to form and isn’t impatient with allowing them to develop.

SCOUT GRADES

TDN Consensus: To Be Determined

Jordan Reid: 72/100

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