Seems like a pretty easy question. Is Nick Chubb the best running back in the NFL? Trevor Sikkema of Pro Football Focus believes so. In a list of the Top 32 running backs in the league, Sikkema places Chubb atop the list.
Sikkema’s reasoning for Chubb’s position is pretty sound.
“Chubb takes the top honor here for his consistency. He’s never posted a rushing grade below 80.0, and his most recent grade of 90.7 in 2022 was a career-high. Along with being one of the most physically gifted backs, he regularly forces missed tackles at one of the highest rates in the NFL and ranks near the top in yards-per-carry average.”
PFF grades aside, it is hard to argue the placement of Nick Chubb on this list. The Browns running back is routinely in the top three in rushing year-in and year out. The only exception was 2020 when he was limited to just 12 games, but 2019 (1,494 – 2nd), 2021 (1,259 – 2nd), and 2022 (1,525 – 3rd) has Chubb in his rightful place among the top rushers in the league.
If there is one area that could have dinged Nick Chubb a bit is his production in the passing game. Chubb’s best season as a receiver came in 2019 with just 36 receptions for 278 yards. Since then other backs have seen use pass catchers under Kevin Stefanski. The majority of passes to running backs have gone to others such as Kareem Hunt and D’Ernest Johnson in recent seasons. This is more than fine as it makes play-action much more effective with Chubb in the game.
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Even though Hunt and Johnson will not be returning, do not expect a sudden uptick in this area for Chubb. Cleveland added Elijah Moore, Marquise Goodwin, and Cedric Tillman to upgrade their passing attack. And with Deshaun Watson at the helm, expect those new faces in addition to the already present options including handling pass-catching duties on a regular basis. It is the threat of Chubb running the ball which makes things easier for Cleveland’s pass catchers. Do not expect that to change with the upgraded receiving room and continuous rumors of DeAndre Hopkins coming to town. Chubb is what makes this offense go and for good reason, he is the best running back in the league.