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Why the Browns picked running back Nick Chubb in the 2018 NFL Draft

Chubb was Todd Gurley’s heir at Georgia. Can he be as successful as Gurley as a pro?

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship Game-Alabama vs Georgia Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Only one player in SEC history ran for more yards than Nick Chubb did at Georgia. Now the Browns are betting the Bulldogs veteran can live up to the NFL standard Herschel Walker left behind.

Chubb ran for more than 100 yards per game with the Bulldogs despite sharing time in a stacked backfield that included stars like Sony Michel and D’Andre Swift. Now he’ll get the chance to apply that success at the next level for a

What does Nick Chubb bring to the Browns’ backfield?

Chubb was explosive from Day 1 at Georgia, rushing for 1,547 yards and 15 touchdowns as a freshman after taking over for a suspended Todd Gurley in Athens. That set up huge expectations for 2015, and Chubb was set to capitalize on them — until disaster struck. He ran for 120-plus yards in each of his first five games as a sophomore before blowing out his knee in gruesome fashion, sparking concerns over whether he’d be able to return to form for the Bulldogs.

But Chubb worked his butt off to restore his place in the lineup, this time flanked by Michel. While the injury clearly sapped him of some of the explosiveness that made him special, he remained one of college football’s most talented running backs, even recording 222 yards and a pair of touchdowns in his first game back with Georgia.

He makes quick cuts and explodes through contact to churn out yards. At 228 pounds, he is difficult to bring down and has the power to push piles and find the end zone, rushing for 44 touchdowns while at Georgia.

He’s got a 38.5-inch vertical leap and reportedly squats 645 pounds and benches 390, as well:

The only thing that could keep him from a lucrative professional career is questionable breakaway speed and concerns his 2015 injury will keep him from being the special runner he was for his first season with the Bulldogs.

Why is Chubb a risk?

Chubb’s top-line speed isn’t elite; he ran a 4.52-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. While he had 20-plus-yard runs in 12 of his 15 games as a senior, he only had two carries of 50-plus yards. That’s because opposing defensive backs and even some linebackers had the closing speed to chase him down in the open field.

Further raising questions about his ability to compete against elite professional defenses is his national championship game performance against Alabama. The Crimson Tide limited him to just 25 yards on 18 carries, smothering him on an evening where Michel was able to gash ‘Bama for 98 yards on 14 carries. While Chubb was able to rack up some extremely impressive performances in UGA’s biggest games — he’d rushed for 632 yards on 8.2 yards per carry in four postseason games before that — he also disappeared in losses to Auburn, Florida, and Vanderbilt in his final two seasons with the Bulldogs.

He also offers little value as a receiver. While he had 18 receptions as a freshman, Georgia’s depth meant he was deployed in very few passing situations as his career wore on; he had just 13 catches his final three seasons, including four for just 30 yards as a senior.