Matt Waldman’s RSP Boiler Room examines a play of 2020 NFL Draft prospect Chuba Hubbard’s (Oklahoma State) that illustrates his change of direction prowess as a running back.
If you’re evaluating running back Chuba Hubbard, you are definitely looking forward to the 2019 season and hoping that he’s featured on more than draws, delays, fullback leads, and short check-downs into open space. Not that these are worthless exposures. You know that the plays we haven’t seen in abundance from Hubbard require more advanced decision-making as a runner.
A lot of what the Cowboys are doing with Hubbard allows its athletic runner to read the field from defender to defender without the need to read frontside to backside or linemen to safety before the snap. There’s less accounting for down and distance or field position when calculating the risk of a decision.
We’re seeing unfiltered athletic ability from a player given the chance to play a half a step beyond the running back equivalent of backyard football. It may seem like a slight of Hubbard’s ability or potential, but it’s only a statement of how he’s being used and not a projection what he can become.
Hubbard has a skillful and fast processor for identifying and executing solutions on a defender-by-defender basis. He also demonstrates NFL-caliber acceleration and stop-start quickness. This run below is a compelling example of rare ability to stop-start twice during a run and make multiple defenders miss angles. Hubbard may not execute runs like this with the same success in the NFL, but it still shows quickness, hip flexibility, and footwork that can be refined into something greater.
Stay tuned for how Oklahoma State uses Hubbard in 2019. If he’s featured more on running plays that we see in the NFL and he executes them with an effective conceptual and technical understanding of the play, his draft stock will be on the rise.
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