Kareem Hunt has proven that he is capable of being a great starter in the NFL. However, Nick Chubb is currently the technical starter for the Cleveland Browns. Will Nick Chubb backup his starting acumen or will Kareem Hunt show up to be the rightful starter? Here’s a look at why either running back could come out on top by the end of 2021.
Will Kareem Hunt or Nick Chubb have the better season in 2021?
Nick Chubb is the top dog at the Dawg Pound, according to the depth chart. His stats are of starter quality and worthy enough for honors. Last season Chubb rushed for more than 1000 yards and had 12 touchdowns. He averaged 5.6 yards per carry in 2020. If he were to have the same year, the Browns would not be unhappy.
That said, zooming out to look at his full career shows something somewhat worrying. In 2019, Chubb rushed for almost 1500 yards, nearly 50 percent more than in 2020. Was 2020 a momentary downtick or is it the start of a rollback? If he slips and Kareem Hunt stays the same or excels, Hunt could pass Chubb in total yards this year.
Of course, it is worth noting that Chubb has never had a bad season. His “worst” season saw him rush for 996 yards and eight touchdowns in his rookie year. Odds are good that this could be rock-bottom for him.
Kareem Hunt famously fumbled in his first game in the NFL but went on to have an explosive rookie year. His rookie year saw him earn 1327 yards and eight touchdowns. To date, 2017 has been his best year. He had a solid second season that saw him earn 14 total touchdowns but rush for less than 1000 yards. After getting into off-the-field trouble, the Chiefs cut him and he landed with Cleveland.
With the Browns, Hunt slid into a backup role. His first full season with the Browns was in 2020. He earned 841 yards and 11 total touchdowns. He also earned more than 1100 total yards. While Chubb’s overall production has slipped, Hunts’ has been steady. Essentially, Hunt came in and took some of Chubb’s reps. If the pattern continues into 2021, Chubb could see his total production slip below Hunt.
Hunt’s biggest edge over Chubb is his ability to catch the football. In 2020, Hunt caught 38 passes for 304 yards and five touchdowns. Chubb, meanwhile, only caught 15 passes for 150 yards and no touchdowns.
If the Browns see Hunt as a more versatile back, they could see more ways to get him on the field. If he gets on the field more, he could overtake Chubb by lining up as a receiver while also being able to tote the rock. However it shapes up, 2021 will be an interesting competition in which fantasy owners will be begging for a piece.