The return of MLS on Wednesday marked the first time a North American team has been played since mid-March.
It has left many sports networks scrambling to fill content for programming.
ESPN’s morning show “Get Up” on Wednesday released the results of a poll conducted with more than 50 NFL executives, coaches, scouts and players.
The poll ranked the 10 running backs for the upcoming NFL season.
Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb ranked seventh on the list despite rushing for 1,494 yards last season, which was the second-most in the NFL.
In a poll conducted with more than 50 NFL executives, scouts and players, ESPN ranked the top 10 running backs for this upcoming season. pic.twitter.com/HVWvg6lsYL
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) July 9, 2020
Several media members criticized the list, saying Chubb should rank much higher than seventh.
It includes ESPN’s Mina Kimes.
“the Nick Chubb disrespect smh,” Kimes tweeted.
She followed up with another tweet, saying, “Nick Chubb: Led all RBs in broken tackles last year; No. 1 in PFF’s elusive ranking; plays for a team that just added one of the best run blocking tackles in football; has a head coach who loves to run the ball. I will buy all of the stock.”
the Nick Chubb disrespect smh https://t.co/IIdHU5rMur
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) July 9, 2020
-led all RBs in broken tackles last year
-#1 in PFF's elusive ranking
-plays for a team that just added one of the best run blocking tackles in football
-has a head coach who loves to run the ball
I will buy all of the stock, tysm
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) July 9, 2020
Saquon Barkley ranked first on the list, followed by Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott, Alvin Kamara, Derrick Henry and Dalvin Cook.
Joe Mixon ranked eighth, Josh Jacobs ninth and Le’Veon Bell 10th.
Several others were confused about why Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones did not make the list.
ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky said Jones would have made his list.
Jones would have replaced Mixon on Orlovsky’s rankings.
I’d probably have @Showtyme_33 on my top 10 list. Maybe take out Mixon—but hard for me to keep him off
— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) July 9, 2020
The case for Nick Chubb
In 2018 as a rookie, Chubb started only nine games and still rushed for 996 yards and 5.2 yards per carry.
Chubb’s impressive performance last season also came with a weak offensive line, especially considering the Browns let left tackle Greg Robinson go in free agency and right tackle Chris Hubbard will now serve as the team’s swing tackle.
Plus, former head coach Freddie Kitchens never stuck to a game plan, something that drew criticism from wide receiver Jarvis Landry.
In 2019, Chubb still averaged 5.0 yards per carry on 298 attempts.
While Chubb isn’t the best pass-catcher out of the backfield, he still had 36 receptions on 49 targets for 278 yards.
Plus, backup running back Kareem Hunt is one of the best pass-catching running backs in the NFL.
Chubb should be a top-five running back in the league considering the run-heavy scheme new Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski used last season with the Minnesota Vikings.
Plus, the Browns made upgrades on the offensive line with free agent right tackle Jack Conklin and first-round draft pick Jedrick Wills.
The case against the players ranked higher than Chubb
While the Saints utilize Kamara in the passing game, he’s never had more than 194 rushing attempts in a season.
Perhaps you could blame injuries, but Kamara’s production slipped in 2019 compared to his first two seasons in the league.
There’s an old cliche in sports: the best ability is availability.
Cook ranked sixth on the list, but the Vikings’ running back missed 19 games through three seasons.
It’s hard to be one of the NFL’s best running backs if you can’t play.
Cook averaged 81 rushing yards per game last season, but Stefanski — the Vikings’ former offensive coordinator — now coaches the Browns.