Rookie Rundown: RB Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State

Rookie Rundown: RB Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State

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Rookie Rundown: RB Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State

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Chuba Hubbard grew up in Canada and came to the states after running for 6,880 yards on 458 rushes for 82 touchdowns in high school. He committed to Oklahoma State University, where he red-shirted his first year in 2017. He shared the backfield in 2018 with Justice Hill before taking over as the workhorse in 2019.

Hubbard exploded on the national scene that year, rushing for 2,094 yards on 328 carries and adding 23 receptions with a total of 21 touchdowns. Had he left college then, the expectation was that the red-shirt sophomore might have been the first running back drafted. No other running back rushed more than 40 times for the Cowboys that season.

His final season was a disappointment. He was limited to only seven of the eleven games the Cowboys played in 2020 while dealing with a nagging ankle injury. He also discovered just how intensely a defense would load up against a guy coming off a 2,000-yard rushing season.

Height: 6-0
Weight: 210 pounds
40 time: 4.36 seconds

Hubbard was a beast in 2019 when he failed to rush for 100 yards in just one of his 13 games. He topped 200 rushing yards in four separate games. In the bowl game that year, he gained 158 yards on 19 carries (8.3 YPC) versus Texas A&M. He rarely had more than two receptions per game, but was fed the ball between 25 and 35 times nearly every week.

RB Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State stats

Year Games Runs Yards Avg. TD Catch Yards TD Total Yards Total TDs
2018 13 124 740 6.0 7 22 229 2 969 9
2019 13 328 2094 6.4 21 23 198 0 2292 21
2020 7 133 625 4.7 5 8 52 1 677 6

Hubbard is expected to be selected in the third round or later by most scouts. That’s appropriate considering his down 2020 season. And that’s a steal if he bounces back to anything close to the form he showed in 2019.

Pros

  • Capable of being a workhorse back
  •  Patient runner
  • Equally adept at inside and outside running
  • Above average acceleration
  • Lead NCAA in rushing in 2019
  • Durable other than the ankle in 2020
  • Impressed with a scorching 4.36 40-time at Pro Day
  • Great fit for zone blocking schemes
  • Vision and athleticism to work in traffic
  • One-cut runner with burst
  • Attacks tacklers and falls forward

Cons

  • Needs work on pass protection
  • Nine fumbles and lost two at OSU
  • Balance issues need work
  • Minimal experience as a receiver
  • Under-sized for an inside rusher

Fantasy football outlook

Working in an offense that spread out the defense, Hubbard was a devastating rusher that could find the right hole and take off. His smaller frame is a concern that he’ll fare as well in congesting in the NFL as he did in college.  His lack of receiving experience – and the sense he got worse as a pass-catcher in 2020 – coupled with suspect pass protection, have scouts tabbing him as a rotational back.

Hubbard has burst and top-end speed that will serve him well. Particularly since he’s expected to be a Day 3 player, his expectations are hard to set until knowing what situation he falls into in the NFL. Last year was an odd one in the NCAA COVID-19 impacts that rippled out across all teams to some extent.

The ex-Cowboy is one to watch in the summer because he’s already proven his ability to run. Unless he improves his pass protection and receiving, he’ll be limited to a more situational role. And that works in many NFL backfields but it limits his fantasy points from a lack of touches.

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