The Cleveland Browns have the best running back unit in the entire National Football League.
Well, at least that’s what Pro Football Focus is saying.
Rankings of all 32 NFL backfields heading into 2020 ⬇️https://t.co/Q4DnAwVNcl
— PFF (@PFF) July 29, 2020
It’s not exactly a secret that the backfield heading into Berea this season is loaded with talent.
At the top of it all will be Nick Chubb, the man who finished second in total rushing yards last season behind Derrick Henry.
Chubb punished defenses week after week throughout all of 2019, including a 165-yard performance on the ground in a week 4 win over the Baltimore Ravens.
Nick Chubb hit a staggering 21.95 MPH against the Ravens 😱#nextgenstats shows us how he's the fastest man in the NFL.
— Sunday Night Football (@SNFonNBC) September 30, 2019
Not only does Chubb have the speed to cruise past opposing secondary’s, he has plenty of power to help get him through the trenches as PFF points out.
“Nick Chubb has the highest overall grade (91.5) and rushing grade (92.1) among running backs over the past two years — he’s been excellent at both maximizing his run blocking and creating big plays. Chubb ranks just 47th with 1.04 yards before contact over the past two years, but he’s second in yards after “Nick Chubb has the highest overall grade (91.5) and rushing grade (92.1) among running backs over the past two years — he’s been excellent at both maximizing his run blocking and creating big plays. Chubb ranks just 47th with 1.04 yards before contact over the past two years, but he’s second in yards after contact (4.04). Chubb has also forced 0.32 missed tackles per reception, fourth-best during that time.”contact (4.04). Chubb has also forced 0.32 missed tackles per reception, fourth-best during that time.”
Hunting for Success
In most cases, the presence of Nick Chubb alone would be enough to make any team’s running back groups one of the league’s best.
This, however, is not most cases.
Chubb will once again run alongside Kareem Hunt, the former Willoughby South High School standout.
Hunt made waves across the NFL when he ran for a league-best 1,327 yards during his rookie season in Kansas City.
However, an offseason misstep landed him in Cleveland ahead of last season.
After serving his eight-game suspension, Hunt rejoined the Browns offense.
He’d carry the ball just 43 times for 179 yards during the second half of the season.
Hunt was very effective catching passes out of the backfield though, and PFF knows the dynamic that Chubb and Hunt bring could be a lethal one for opposing defenses.
“Hunt led the league with 61 forced missed tackles as a rookie in 2017 and has two top-seven finishes as a runner in his three NFL seasons. Hunt is also an effective receiver, forcing 41 missed tackles while hauling in 11 touchdowns on 119 career receptions. It’s a five-way race for the No. 3 spot, led by Dontrell Hilliard, who has 51 career carries, but this unit is all about Chubb and Hunt — one of the best combinations in the NFL.”
#Browns RB Kareem Hunt’s ranks from the time he returned to the team in 2019 (Wk10-17):
▪️Forced missed tackles on receptions: 15 (2nd)
▪️Elusive rating: 119.2 (3rd)
▪️Receiving grade: 83.4 (4th) pic.twitter.com/xYHbDkl5YB
— PFF CLE Browns (@PFF_Browns) July 4, 2020
Hilliard will serve as the backup to Hunt.
Despite his few career carries, Hilliard has shown he can play at the NFL level even with some ups and downs thus far.
Looking for an even more in-depth look into who Baker Mayfield will hand the ball off to?
The Browns running backs will be a very exciting group to watch this season, and training camp battles should get the show started early.