Plenty of draft experts and evaluators consider the 2018 NFL Draft much weaker at defensive end than prior years. I can’t necessarily disagree because, after Bradley Chubb and Harold Landry, the question marks are apparent, from work ethic issues to a player’s athletic ability and schematically where they fit on the football field. Tons of edge rushers played out of position this past year, but one player who didn’t was Bradley Chubb from North Carolina State.
Formerly a the three-star recruit out of Hillgrove High School in Powder Springs, Georgia, Chubb was a versatile defensive player. He played as an outside linebacker and as a defensive end. Before choosing North Carolina State, he had offers from Duke and Iowa, but ultimately chose the Wolfpack. It’s not surprising to see Chubb as such a highly-touted player, due to the football pedigree he comes from. His father, Aaron, played at Georgia and his brother, Brandon, played at Wake Forest. Meanwhile, he’s cousins with Nick Chubb, who is expected to be a day two pick in the 2018 NFL Draft out of Georgia.
Originally committing to North Carolina State as a linebacker, Chubb spent the 2014 season in that role. After the season, he moved to defensive end. Since then, he’s played in a versatile role both as a stand-up edge rusher and with his hand in the dirt. Either way, he’s dominated the competition and finished the 2017 campaign better than ever. Furthering my point, he was awarded with the 2017 Bronko Nagurski Trophy (NCAA’s best defensive player) and the 2017 ACC Defensive Player of the Year award.
There will be plenty of landing spots for Bradley Chubb within the top-10 picks of the first round. For example, the New York Giants traded Jason Pierre-Paul (JPP) to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While the Giants have created a need for defensive end, the Bucs have eliminated one. Before we go through some of the fits, let’s dive into the tape and take a look at some of the strengths and weaknesses of Bradley Chubb:
- Converts speed to power
- Executes all line stunts; thrives with twist stunts
- Can drop into coverage and cover flats
- Versatile – can stand up, put hand in the dirt
- Form tackler with head across and drives feet forward
- Good lateral movement across the LOS and open field
- Good burst off the ball and bend down the LOS
- High motor with good pursuit to the football
- Good leverage and block-shed ability (push-pull, club-rip, swim over)
- Sets edge and maintains gap
- Excellent footwork and hand usage with inside pass rush
Like I was saying, Chubb is great when rushing inside. Above, he’ll push-pull his way inside the left tackle, and he makes a play on the ball carrier. With his burst, this also helps him convert speed to power.
Inside rush moves are a definite strength for Bradley Chubb. Posts and is full extended to create separation. Clubs over as he moves back inside. QB barely gets this pass off but great pressure by Chubb. pic.twitter.com/pil39B7MoY
— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) March 19, 2018
On the play above, you’ll see Chubb (#9) maintain his gap by working the outside shoulder of the left tackle. He forces the left tackle to get a narrow base and turn his upper body. This helps Chubb read the backfield and puts him in great position to make a play.
- Turns away from down blocks
- Doesn’t always play below pad level
- Hesitant with using his hands after his post-step
- Can play stiff in his upper body and his lower body (hips)
On the play above, you’ll notice a play action pass from Wake Forest. Chubb (#9) is rushing off the left tackle, but there’s some hesitation from him when getting to the backfield. His initial read on the quarterback is slow and there’s hesitation when using his hands. He creates a pressure and the quarterback throws up a prayer, but if he processes this faster, he’d have another sack.
Chubb turning his back to the play. I love when DL do that pic.twitter.com/pPteYfIFUZ
— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) March 19, 2018
On the play above, you’ll notice that Chubb stands up and doesn’t get a good feel for the down block. He turns his back, which makes him a much easier block. By turning his back, he also takes himself out of the play because he can’t read where the ball carrier is going and can’t go with the flow of the play.
Bradley Chubb leaves this right tackle in the dust. Right tackles post foot gets stuck in the ground and Chubb loops inside. Jones does a great job with the guard that the right tackle has to chase after Chubb as he long-sticks into the A-gap and eats this draw play. pic.twitter.com/J3xaxTLbiQ
— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) March 21, 2018
When talking about the edge rushers for the 2018 NFL Draft, there isn’t one more complete than Bradley Chubb. He’s got everything you want from his speed to his power. He has the bend that you want out of an edge rusher, and that allows him to corner quarterbacks and disrupt backfields. He’s not as explosive as Harold Landry, but Chubb is the more complete edge rusher.
As it stands now, Chubb earned an overall grade of 5.681 on our grading sheet. That puts him well into the first round discussion, and he’s done enough to solidify himself as a top-10 pick in the draft.
We’re under the impression that Sam Darnold will be the first overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. That opens the door for other teams to move and take their quarterbacks, as well. It’s also going to put teams in an interesting position when they’re on the board and Bradley Chubb is still there. By trading away JPP, the New York Giants have easily become the favorite for Chubb, especially after scheduling a private visit with him.
As the #Giants suddenly have a need at defensive end thanks to the JPP trade, worth noting: They already had a private workout with #NCState DE Bradley Chubb and he visits the facility in a few weeks. They pick No. 2 overall.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 22, 2018
Obviously, the Giants could be doing their due diligence, or they could have Chubb on the top of their board. Another team that Chubb would be a fit for would be the Cleveland Browns at the fourth overall pick. He’d fit perfectly across from Myles Garrett, and he’d also fit the mold of “best player available”. That’s something the Browns should consider. Another fit for Chubb would be the Indinapolis Colts with the sixth overall pick. I’d be shocked if they passed on him, but then again, crazier things have happened.
There isn’t a scheme in which Chubb doesn’t fit. He can be a stand-up edge rusher or he can play in the dirt. Whether it’s a 4-3 defense or a 3-4 defense, it doesn’t matter. Plenty of teams will try to nickel and dime their way to victory, but one thing is for sure: Chubb will be a great player with a rare combination of run stopping ability and pass rush skills. Whoever drafts him will have their next defensive end for at least the next ten years.
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