NFL Draft analysis: defensive ends — Bradley Chubb

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DENTON, Texas (KNTU) Continuing my analysis of NFL 2018 Draft candidates, here is: Bradley Chubb, Edge, North Carolina State — 6’4″ / 276 lbs — Senior #9

  • Who is He?

Each year the Bronko Nagurski Trophy is given to the best defensive player in college football. In 2017, that player was Chubb, a North Carolina State defensive end. A consensus All-American, Chubb was named 1st team All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and ACC Defensive Player of the Year.

After only playing special teams most of his freshman year (2014), Chubb recorded 10.5 tackles-for-loss (TFLs) and five sacks his sophomore year (2015). He gained more national attention after his junior season (2016), finishing with 21 TFLs and 10 sacks. Chubb solidified himself as a top 10 pick in 2017 with 23 TFLs and 10 sacks.

It’s not just the numbers that make Chubb the best edge rusher in this draft class. He brings a combination of athleticism, speed, impressive strength, a number of pass rushing moves, as well as great technique and instincts against the run.

Chubb is from a family of athletes. His father Aaron was drafted by the New England Patriots in the 1989 NFL Draft after three years at Georgia. His brother Brandon played at Wake Forest before going to the NFL and now plays for the Lions. His cousin Nick, a running back at the University of Georgia, is probably his most well-known relative and also a prospect in this year’s draft.

  • Positives

Chubb goes inside in the pass rush better than any edge rusher in this class. He’s great at setting up his man with his first outside step then either dipping or swimming into the backfield.

While Harold Landry may have the best hip flexibility in this edge class, Chubb isn’t far behind. He’s got the speed and fluidity to bend his way into the backfield if needed.

Chubb is a fantastic athlete, but he can also win with strength and good technique. Either driving his man into the backfield or keeping his hands active to make sure his blocker can’t engage him.

He has the same ability to redirect in the pass rush that I showcased with Sam Hubbard. Chubb keeps his eyes on the ball while rushing and adjusting to the quarterback.

He can rip, dip, club, swim, and bend his way into the backfield, but what really sets him apart in this class of pass rushers is his presence in the run game. He has good technique, lateral speed, and a huge motor — this is more of a scramble than a designed run, but my point stands.

He’s not just an edge who will do damage when momentarily left unblocked; he can attack his man from the snap and get into the backfield to blow up runs.

  • Negatives

Chubb’s frame makes him what NFL scouts call a “tweener,” meaning he may have to gain or lose some weight. There are also some questions about his first movement at the snap, with the concern being he can’t beat tackles out of their stance in a speed rush. But I think he has enough speed and technique that it won’t be an issue.

There are also instances where Chubb got to his spot and failed to finish the play, but these negatives are minor question marks outweighed by his positives.

  • Summary

Bradley Chubb is a top five talent. And if it weren’t for this year’s quarterback class, he would likely be a top 5 pick. He’ll be taken in the first 10 picks due to his combination of athleticism, strength, and good technique that allows him to make plays on both the quarterback and running back.

  • Relevance to the Cowboys

Unless Dallas plans on trading their way into the first 10 picks, they don’t stand a chance of drafting Chubb.

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