The Cleveland Browns will have several issues to work through during training camp this summer.
How will Jedrick Wills Jr. adjust to moving to left tackle? Who will plug the gaping hole at right guard? Which player will step up to claim the third wide receiver slot? How will the offensive line adjust to a new blocking scheme?
But there is one area that should not cause head coach Kevin Stefanski to lose any sleep and that is the running game.
1. Browns— PFF (@PFF) July 29, 2020
Rankings of all 32 NFL backfields heading into 2020 ⬇️https://t.co/Q4DnAwVNcl
How good is the combination of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt at running back? Good enough to be named the league’s top unit by Pro Football Focus in its ranking of the league’s running attacks.
Chubb, who finished second in the league with 1,494 rushing yards last season, and Hunt, who has averaged 4.7 yards per carry in his career and is a threat in the passing game, gives the Browns a pair of weapons that are the envy of the rest of the league, as PFF’s Steve Palazzolo highlights:
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.
Chubb has become one of the most difficult runners to tackle and may be the best pure runner in the NFL. He’s complemented by Kareem Hunt, another back who is difficult to tackle. 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.
Last year, Chubb put up the best rushing season by a Browns back since 1965 and Hunt flashed his ability as an asset in the passing game after missing the first half of the season due to a suspension.
In a season of unprecedented uncertainty, Chubb and Hunt are one aspect of the offense that Stefanski can count on.