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Green Bay Packers: Is Chuba Hubbard an Ahman Green Clone?

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The Green Bay Packers invested in the running back position in the 2020 NFL Draft. Could they add to that position again if Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams are not re-signed?

The Green Bay Packers have one of the best stable of running backs in the NFL. Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams form one of the best one-two punches in the league. 

Then Brian Gutekunst went out and drafted A.J. Dillon, the wrecking machine in the second round this past April. The evil genius, Matt LaFleur then sprinkles in touches for dynamic and versatile Tyler Ervin. 

A big reason why Gutekunst selected Dillon is the fact that both Jones and Williams are set to be free agents following the season. According to reports and Jones himself, the Packers’ front office and Jones’ agent have been in talks about a possible contract extension.

With the Green Bay Packers needing to re-sign David Bakhtiari and possibly Kevin King and Corey Linsley there is a strong chance that a deal may never come to fruition. 

For as talented as the running back group is in Green Bay it’s possible that it looks slightly or even dramatically different in 2021. If the Packers lose both Williams and Jones they’ll likely turn to the NFL Draft to select Dillon’s future running mate. 

A player that Gutekunst could target is a player that reminds this writer of Green Bay’s all-time leading rusher, Ahman Green. That player is Oklahoma State’s Chuba Hubbard

Hubbard put together an impressive 2019 season. The Canadian native led the FBS with 2,094 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns. 

Hubbard had a remarkable 2019 campaign, becoming just the second player in Oklahoma State history to surpass 2,000 yards in a single season,” Cody Nagel, the publisher for GoPokes.com said. “The only other player to do so? Barry Sanders in 1988 when the legendary running back won the Heisman Trophy.”

Watching Hubbard run is poetry in motion. The way he glides is beautiful (reminiscent of Ahman Green).

The redshirt junior is a patient, one cut-runner. He doesn’t dance behind the line of scrimmage. He’s decisive and once he sees the hole he hits it, displaying good burst. He has excellent footwork and is able to cut on a dime. 

Hubbard showed excellent patience last season,” Nagel said. “He allowed the offensive line to get its blocks set before hitting the open hole with his signature burst of speed.”

Hubbard is a former track star. He won the 2016 Edmonton Canadian U20 Championships with a time of 10.69 in the 100 meters. His personal best in that event is 10.60. 

That speed is on full display on the football field. He has the speed to erase pursuit angles. According to Pro Football Focus, Hubbard had 29 carries of 15+ yards and five runs of 60+ yards last season. He’s a legit home run threat. 

The thing that stands out most about Hubbard’s game is his breakaway speed,” Nagel said. “Good luck catching him if he gets past the second level. Hubbard has seven touchdown carries of 50+ yards in his first two seasons playing for Oklahoma State. Six of those were from 2019 alone.”

Hubbard possesses incredible balance and body control. He keeps his legs driving through contact (much like Ahman Green) and doesn’t allow arm tackles to bring him down. According to PFF he broke 77 tackles and rushed for 1,300 yards after contact last season. 

Hubbard has elite body control and showed some of that shiftiness in 2019,” Nagel said. “He wasn’t overly powerful, measuring at 6-1, 207 last season, but still managed to break away from a number of tackles on his way to 2,000+ yards rushing.”

If the Green Bay Packers plan on letting Jones walk in free agency, they need to draft a running back that can be a weapon in the passing game. That’s an area of his game that Hubbard has been reportedly working on this offseason. 

“Hubbard has shown glimpses of being a threat in the passing game with 45 receptions for 427 yards and two touchdowns during his collegiate career,” Nagel said. “This is an aspect of Hubbard’s game that he spent much of the offseason working on with Oklahoma State offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Kasey Dunn.”

Hubbard is coming off a season in which he caught 23 passes for 198 yards. In an interview, shortly after announcing he was returning to Oklahoma State, he mentioned that he could “up” his game. Part of that is becoming more of a threat in the passing attack. 

“Yeah, in high school I didn’t do it too much,” Hubbard said of being involved as a receiver. “I really just ran the ball, but ever since I got to Oklahoma State I remember that is the first thing I worked on, getting on the Jugs machine every day. 

At first, I would drop the ball and people would laugh at me, but I just kept consistent and working with it and my hands have become significantly better. 

That is one part of my game that I try to excel in. In my red-shirt freshman year I caught the ball a lot more and this year toward the end I started catching the ball more. That is a part of my game that I think I can get a lot better at, but I’m doing pretty good with it.”

Another aspect that Hubbard will need to improve upon if he is going to be a three-down back is his work in pass protection. Nagel said that could be a red flag for Hubbard as he goes through the draft process. 

“In terms of pass protection, this is an area of concern for Hubbard at the next level,” Nagel said. “Opponents are only getting bigger in the NFL, and at this point, Hubbard doesn’t have eye-popping size.”

Much like Ahman Green Hubbard has a tendency to put the ball on the ground. He fumbled the ball five times (losing none of them) but ball security is one area where he will have to improve. 

Even if the Green Bay Packers opt to let Jones and Williams leave via free agency will they target a running back early? They just spent a second-round pick on Dillon and Hubbard will likely go somewhere on day two. 

Will a team that could be in the market for a cornerback, center, offensive tackle, guard, defensive line help and wide receiver want to spend a premium pick on a running back? It’s far too early to tell.

One thing is for certain. A future running back duo of Dillon and Hubbard would be dynamic. A running back combo like that could help keep the ground game for the Green Bay Packers running like a well-oiled machine for the foreseeable future. 

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