NC State’s Bradley Chubb, potentially 2018’s top pass rushing prospect, looks to rack up sacks this Saturday against a stout Notre Dame offensive line.
Pass rushers continue to be at a premium in the NFL, and one player who could emerge as the crown jewel pass rusher extraordinaire of the 2018 draft class is North Carolina State star defensive end Bradley Chubb.
Chubb, a senior for the Wolfpack, surprised many last year by deciding to return for his senior season in 2017. Many had considered Chubb a lock to be selected in the first round, so electing to return for his final season at NC State was a bit of a surprise in an era where more and more underclassmen are deciding to declare early.
The decision has paid off in a big way for the 14th-ranked Wolfpack, who enter their matchup in South Bend with Notre Dame this weekend riding a six-game winning streak. A huge reason for that success has been due to the play of Chubb, who has already totaled 13 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks this season.
What makes Chubb such a force on the defensive line and one of my absolute favorite players to scout in this draft process? Let’s take a look at the tape to find out.
Nonstop motor and production
Ever since his sophomore season at NC State, Bradley Chubb (currently a team captain) has been an absolute defensive force and an unwelcome sight in the backfield of ACC opponents. With 44.5 tackles for loss in his Wolfpack career, Chubb has made a habit of stopping plays before they get going. But one of the most impressive things about Chubb is how far he’ll go to make a play once they do get going. Exhibit A? This unbelievable effort against Florida State earlier this season.
There are certain plays a prospect makes in college that leave you awestruck (see Jadeveon Clowney against Michigan) and this is exactly that type of play for me. Chubb begins lined up as the right defensive end, blows up the right guard on a stunt, then proceeds to chase down the scrambling quarterback 10 yards down the field before punching the ball out.
It’s this type of motor and playmaking ability that make Chubb one of the most fun players to watch in college football. Another added bonus? Chubb has a bit of a nasty streak. He’s a player who will be likely be deemed insufferable by the fans of opposing teams, much like Richard Sherman is to non-Seahawks fans. He’s the type of player who routinely gets under the skin of opposing players, staying on quarterbacks just a smidge too long or giving a little extra shove after the whistle.
Oh, and one more extremely important note. He can dance.
Listed at 6-foot-4, 275 pounds, Chubb is the perfect blend of speed and power every NFL team looks for in an edge rushing prospect. He has explosive, powerful hands to beat opposing tackles while also having the flexibility to bend the edge on his pass rush. As skilled as Chubb is at using his hands to fight off opposing lineman when rushing the passer, he’s perhaps even more valuable as a run defender, as evidenced by this play earlier in the year against South Carolina.
Chubb’s explosiveness off the ball allows him to knife through the line and into the backfield for the tackle. He also displays outstanding awareness and edge-setting ability against the run, and is one of the best in college football at defending the read option. When Chubb does get into the backfield, his power and ability to drive his legs through tackles allow him to finish plays.
Areas of concern
As a player who plays with the type of passion that Chubb displays, sometimes the toughest thing they are forced to do is play under control. With Chubb, some of that surfaces in his pass rushes, as he’ll get too off-balance and redirected out of the play when an opposing lineman can square him up.
And the NFL will also surely be on the lookout for Chubb’s not-so-nice grass-watering practices.
Tough test against Fighting Irish offensive line
Chubb will face his toughest pass-rushing challenge of the season this weekend against an experienced Notre Dame offensive line, led by tackle Mike McGlinchey and guard Quenton Nelson. Both McGlinchey and Nelson could wind up as first-round picks in 2018, and how they fare against the tenacity of Bradley Chubb will be fun to watch.
Overall, Bradley Chubb is one of the most exciting pass rushing prospects in this class and with the tools, production, and passion he plays with, it’d be a surprise if he slid anywhere out of the top-10 picks next April.