Cleveland Browns 10 important players: Nick Chubb

The Cleveland Browns just played their second NFL Preseason game, But most of their star players watched from the sidelines, including the next player on the list of their 10 important players - running back Nick Chubb.

The Cleveland Browns rested their offensive playmakers in Week 2 of the NFL Preseason, which was a smart move considering the importance of the 2019 season for the Browns.

One of the critical players that watched from the sidelines is the next player on our list of the ten essential players for the 2019 Cleveland Browns. Coming in at number four is running back Nick Chubb.

2018 NFL Draft

After going 1-15 in 2016, the Cleveland Browns sunk even lower in 2017, becoming the second team in NFL history to go 0-16.

With their second selection in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns selected Georgia running back Nick Chubb.

There were rumors about the Browns interest in Nick Chubb leading up to the draft. Due to a knee injury early in his college career, his draft stock fell from being a no doubt first-round pick to a player many scouts believed would have a limited NFL career.

Chubb was a four-year starter for Georgia, rushing 758 times for 4,769 yards and 44 touchdowns despite missing the majority of the 2015 season with a left knee injury. He bounced back with two consecutive 1,000-plus rushing yardage seasons and ended his career with a 6.3-yards-per-carry average.

Chubb joined Cleveland’s crowded running back group consisting of Duke Johnson, who was a multidimensional receiving threat and Carlos Hyde, the free-agent pickup who was a tough runner but not a featured back. The selection of Chubb was a surprise, as an 0-16 team has holes across the roster and the team already had two good running backs.

Heading into the 2019 NFL Draft, NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein wrote that Chubb “has the size and mindset of a primary ball-carrier but lacks any one element of his game that jumps off the tape.” Nevertheless, the Browns drafted Chubb, believing he had star power and could be a dynamic runner for them for the foreseeable future.

Chubb takes over the featured back role

The Cleveland Browns selected running back Nick Chubb to be a featured back on the Browns’ ground attack. Inexplicably, Chubb was on the bench to start the season while veteran Carlos Hyde plodded to 3.4 yards per carry. The former Bulldog saw four or fewer carries in the first six games of his rookie season.

Chubb broke out in Week 4 against the Oakland Raiders with three carries for 105 yards and two touchdowns including a 63-yard rush and a 41-yard rushing score. Unfortunately, he didn’t follow that fantastic effort up until Week 7, when he carried a career-high 18 times for 80 yards and a touchdown. During that same week, the Browns fired head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley mercifully and saw fit to trade running back Carlos Hyde to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Nick Chubb then became an offensive force and significant playmaker. Once he secured the starting job, he had only one game under 25 rushing yards for the rest of the season. His second-half surge resulted in Chubb setting the Browns’ rookie record for rushing yards with 996 yards.

Despite only receiving 16 carries the first six weeks of the season, Chubb rushed for 996 yards and 8 touchdowns on 192 carries. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry, and his longest run went for 92 yards, the longest run in franchise history. Chubb finished 10th in the league in rushing yards. He ranked third in the NFL in carries (176) and fourth in rushing yards (823) from Weeks 7 to 17. Additionally, he found the end zone eight times from Week 7 on, while producing six games of 100+ total yards.

According to NFL.com’s Graham Barfield, Chubb’s 4.4 yards after contact is the best rate in the NFL in the past 12 years.

Nick Chubb and Baker Mayfield led the Cleveland Browns to a 7-8-1 record in 2018 and filled the city of Cleveland with expectations and promise that the Browns fans have not seen in decades in Cleveland.

Browns sign Kareem Hunt

Regardless of the success of Nick Chubb, the Cleveland Browns decided to claim suspended running back Kareem Hunt off waivers. Hunt will miss the first eight games of the season. But Browns general manager John Dorsey believed in giving the player he drafted in Kansas City another chance.

Despite playing in only 11 games last season, Hunt still finished with 1202 scrimmage yards and 14 total touchdowns. Hunt led the NFL in rushing as a rookie in 2017, and it will be challenging to keep the talented and versatile back off the field if he plays at that elite level.

However, Chubb is expected to retain his lead-back role to start the season. The question will be whether or not there is a time-share if both are healthy after Week 8. The addition of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and the ascension of franchise quarterback Baker Mayfield makes this Browns offense an explosive offense and will create plenty of scoring opportunities.

With running back Duke Johnson traded to the Houston Texans, Chubb will see a great deal of work to start the season. I envision a scenario in which Chubb continues to be the featured back when Hunt returns while Hunt takes over the Duke Johnson role as the pass-catching back out of the backfield. Both are dynamic backs and will feed each other, especially in this high-powered Browns offense.

Chubb leads the Browns backfield in 2019

Nick Chubb is looking forward to the 2019 season. He will be the bell cow back on a high-powered Cleveland Browns offense. The Browns have playmakers at each offensive position led by quarterback Baker Mayfield. There will be a ton of touchdown opportunities on offense and an improved defense led by Pro Bowl defensive end Myles Garrett. The Browns made significant additions to both sides of the ball which has created hype in Cleveland as they have ever witnessed.

Chubb will be the primary back and run behind an offensive line that is bringing back four of the five offensive linemen that opened holes that almost led him to a 1,000-yard rushing season in 2018.

The Browns are rolling the dice on Kareem Hunt. Dorsey believes in Hunt and has praised him for his work ethic this offseason. Hunt is a native of the Cleveland area, and once he returns from his suspension will fit in perfectly as the passing down back for the Browns.

Probably the most integral part of the success of Nick Chubb last season was last season’s interim offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens. His offense led to the offensive explosion and, perhaps even more importantly,  Baker loves him. Kitchens is now the permanent head coach and will partner with former Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Todd Monken to build upon last season’s breakout performance.

Look for Nick Chubb to break the 1,000 rushing yard barrier and score double-digit touchdowns and a trip to the Pro Bowl. More importantly, his play will open up the offense for Mayfield and the passing game to lead the Cleveland Browns to their first playoff appearance since 2002.

Other players who have made the cut so far on the ten crucial 2019 Cleveland Browns’ players:

10. Defensive end Olivier Vernon

9. Defensive Tackle Sheldon Richardson

8. Tight End David Njoku 

7. Guard Austin Corbett

6. Cornerback Denzel Ward

5. Left Tackle Greg Robinson 

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