Panthers depth chart focus: Running back balance can thrive in 2022

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /
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Carolina Panthers
(Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) Chuba Hubbard /

Chuba Hubbard – Carolina Panthers RB

It was a baptism of fire for Chuba Hubbard during his rookie campaign. The Carolina Panthers asked a lot of the former fourth-round pick, who was tasked with filling starting responsibilities when Christian McCaffrey went down with a series of troubling injury problems.

Hubbard took his time to adjust. This was a significant step up in class from his days at Oklahoma State and it was evident at times.

Although there were some nice moments from the running back, there are some clear flaws in his game that need refinement in the coming months. Hubbard struggled in pass protection and there were some obvious complications gaining yards after initial contact, which was a question-mark surrounding the player coming out of college.

Hubbard ended 2021 with 612 rushing yards, five touchdowns, and a 3.6 yards-per-carry average. He also brought in 25 receptions from 37 targets for 174 receiving yards and a score.

Further establishing himself this offseason is Hubbard’s next challenge. There is some hard work ahead for the player to take a leap forward, but if McCaffrey can finally rid himself of the injury problems, then it could allow the second-year-pro to relax and develop at his own pace.

However, he’ll need to show something quickly given there is now some serious competition for the primary backup role that simply wasn’t there last season.