Chuba Hubbard - Carolina Panthers RB
When running back Chuba Hubbard underwhelmed as a rookie, many wondered what the future might hold. Christian McCaffrey made his return from injury. The Carolina Panthers signed D'Onta Foreman in free agency. It wasn't looking good for the Oklahoma State product all things considered.
Instead of wallowing in self-pity, Hubbard never stopped working. He was buried down the depth chart early in 2022 as McCaffrey became the focal point once again. Despite this, the former fourth-round selection kept plugging away at improving problem areas of his game.
It took five weeks before Matt Rhule was fired. McCaffrey was traded to the San Francisco 49ers soon after. When Hubbard's second chance to impress came, he made the most of it.
Fast forward to 2023. Hubbard is now the No. 1 running back and is performing extremely well. His vision is high-caliber, matched by explosiveness over short areas and the ability to absorb contact effectively in pursuit of additional yardage.
A new coaching staff will have different ideas on how to take the franchise forward. One could make a strong case for building around Hubbard in the running back room. Especially considering 2024 is a contract year for the Canadian-born playmaker.
If it doesn't work out, the Panthers can move on with minimal fuss. Considering Hubbard's current trajectory and exceptional work ethic, that scenario seems unlikely.