Chuba Hubbard Dynasty Fantasy Outlook, NFL Draft Profile & Props
Brian Bahr/Getty Images. Pictured: Chuba Hubbard.
- Chubba Hubbard was one of the best players in college football in 2019 -- but even then he was a Day 2 prospect.
- Now after a subpar season, Hubbard seems highly likely to go on Day 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft.
- Matthew Freedman analyzes Hubbard's potential, dynasty fantasy outlook and draft props.
Chuba Hubbard Draft Profile
Chuba Hubbard Draft Props
While I rely on my own research, I also take a “wisdom of the crowds” approach by surveying an index of mock drafts. I find that these drafts — created by experts with established records of success — collectively give me a good sense of the realistic range of outcomes for what we might see with any given player or pick.
In not one surveyed mock does Hubbard go in Round 1. In fact, I don’t think he’s even in the database at Grinding the Mocks, which might be the most bearish indicator I’ve come across for any prospect so far.
Forebodingly, Hubbard is a nonentity in the draft prop market.
Dynasty Fantasy Analysis
Most of the time, I’m excited to write these prospect profiles. But sometimes, I’m not.
And at what address do you fulfill said life?
— Fella (@FFAaroneous) April 16, 2021
Also, some of y’all are a little too familiar.
Back to Hubbard …
When I think of him in the year 2021, I imagine a guy who stands in front of a mirror, looking at himself — shirtless, of course — as tears run down his face.
Adele plays in the background. Rain whispers outside.
He stares himself in the eyes.
Words escape from his mouth, clearly yet almost inaudibly: “We could have had it all … Rolling in the deep …”
By not entering the NFL in 2020 — and then by not opting out of the 2020 college season — Hubbard certainly cost himself millions of dollars, and he might have even cost himself a career.
Hailing from Alberta, Canada, Hubbard entered the recruitment process with 3-4 stars to his name and a world-class sprinting background on his résumé as a three-time 100-meter national champion. In 2015, Hubbard competed in the IAAF World Youth Championships and finished No. 4 in the 100-meter sprint with a personal best of 10.55 seconds in the semifinals. He has legitimate and verified speed.
With his manifest talent, Hubbard received scholarship offers from many of the top football programs in the United States — including Alabama, Georgia, Auburn and Oklahoma — and he chose Oklahoma State.
In 2017 Hubbard redshirted so he could transition from Canadian to American football, and then the following year, he stepped into the offense and immediately played as the bigger-bodied supplement to upperclassman Justice Hill while also returning kicks.
- Rushing: 124-740-7
- Receiving: 22-229-2
- Kick Returning: 23-510-0
And in the final four of his 13 games — when Hill was out with injury — Hubbard was exceptional as the lead back with a robust 79-425-5 rushing and 13-110-1 receiving.
He carried his impressive surge to close the 2018 season into 2019, when he dominated the Cowboys offense as a unanimous All-American and Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year with an FBS-best 328-2,094-21 rushing as well as 23-198-0 receiving.
If Hubbard had chosen to enter the NFL after the 2019 season — as a 20-year-old redshirt sophomore — I think he would have been a lock to go on Day 2. In my way-too-early 2020 dynasty rookie rankings, I had Hubbard slated for Round 1 of rookie drafts before he announced his intent to return to college.
But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe he wouldn’t have been a Day 2 selection last year.
After Hubbard announced his decision not to declare for the NFL draft after his sophomore campaign, Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy explained the decision by noting that “people really didn’t know where he would go — middle second round all the way to fourth round, a dramatic difference financially up front and those rounds in the draft” (per Garrett Stepien).
So, Hubbard returned for his junior season to solidify and perhaps improve his draft stock … and that very clearly didn’t happen.
Before the season started, Hubbard publicly spoke out against Gundy for wearing a One America News Network T-shirt, and even though Hubbard and Gundy worked that situation out, I imagine that could be held against him entering the league. Anecdotally, NFL decision-makers haven’t liked outspoken players — players who (the argument goes) put themselves before their teams and the league — and that’s especially the case for players who underperform.
And that’s what Hubbard did in 2020. Battling an ankle injury in the second half of the season, Hubbard was a modest 133-625-5 rushing and 8-52-1 receiving in seven games. Those numbers aren’t awful, but Hubbard certainly underperformed expectations, and his year-over-year production notably declined in every efficiency category (per SIS, 2021 Sports Info Solutions Football Rookie Handbook).
Yards per Attempt
- 2019: 6.4
- 2020: 4.7
Yards After Contact per Attempt
- 2019: 3.7
- 2020: 2.2
Yards per Target
- 2019: 6.6
- 2020: 5.2
Yards per Route
- 2019: 1.9
- 2020: 0.3
Positive Play Rate – Inside
- 2019: 53%
- 2020: 38%
Positive Play Rate – Outside
- 2019: 51%
- 2020: 20%
Positive Play Rate – Zone
- 2019: 50%
- 2020: 40%
Positive Play Rate – Gap
- 2019: 51%
- 2020: 47%
Expected Points Added per Attempt
- 2019: 0.13
- 2020: -0.03
Expected Points Added per Target
- 2019: -0.02
- 2020: -0.11
To put all of this in perspective: Hubbard was one of the best players in college football in 2019, and even then he was a Day 2 pick at best. Now, coming off a remarkably subpar season, Hubbard seems highly likely to go on Day 3.
As he demonstrated in his sophomore campaign, Hubbard is clearly an upside player, but his expected draft position highlights his downside.
Hubbard is far from a perfect prospect.
To start, he has ball security issues. In his two final seasons, he had seven fumbles, per Pro Football Focus. He’s not careless with the ball in traffic, but he’s not as mindful of it as he should be — and as meaningless as fumbles are, they will be held against him in the NFL.
Hubbard is a smooth and purposeful runner who gets upfield in a hurry instead of looking to break plays outside, but he’s not a powerful runner. He doesn’t break tackles. He doesn’t fall forward. He doesn’t run behind his pads.
He showed in 2019 that he can handle a big workload, but he also seems to lack the rugged playing style coaches want in a lead back, which might limit the carries he gets in the NFL.
Additionally, he played in a friendly college offense, especially in 2019, and he might not have the benefit of a run/pass option-heavy zone-blocking scheme in the NFL. When Hubbard gets a crease, he can explode through it and outrun everyone.
Chuba Hubbard is faster than….well everyone.
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) September 29, 2019
But he won’t see as many advantageous running lanes in the NFL, and he might be a scheme-dependent back.
Hubbard’s biggest flaw is his work in the passing game. As evidenced by his per-target and -route efficiency since 2019, Hubbard is net negative as a receiver. He has a limited route tree and isn’t a crisp route runner. Additionally, he’s poor in pass protection (as noted by Thor Nystrom in his running back breakdown).
With his receiving deficiency, Hubbard will likely see limited if any three-down usage in the NFL.
His disappointing pro day was just the rotten cherry on the fecal sundae. If you look at highlights, he wasn’t awful.
.@CowboyFB RB Chuba Hubbard turned heads at his Pro Day:
👀 4.48u 40-yard dash
👀 36"u vertical + 10'u broad
👀 20 bench press reps@Hubbard_RMN | @NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/w0G3j99qn0
— NFL (@NFL) April 9, 2021
But people were expecting to see world-class athleticism — because Hubbard is a world-class sprinter.
I, however, am not worried about his pro day. We know that Hubbard is fast based on his tape and background, and a 4.48-second 40 time at 210 pounds is plenty fast anyway. Hubbard’s combination of height, weight and speed gives him a Freak Score of 72, which is comparable to Travis Etienne’s score of 73 — and no one is freaking out (#NailedIt) about Etienne’s “lack” of athleticism (per RotoViz Freak Score Calculator).
And it’s not improbable that what we saw out of Hubbard at his pro day — similar to what we saw out of him in 2020 — was him near his worst.
Circumstances are likely to conspire to drive down Hubbard’s draft capital and limit his NFL opportunities, but his upside will intrigue if he happens to land in the right situation.
NFL Prospect Comp: Jeremy Langford with a subpar final season
Matthew Freedman is 1,018-828-37 (55.1%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.
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