Chuba Hubbard - Carolina Panthers RB
It would be easy to put Miles Sanders here. But all signs point to this being a lost cause for the Carolina Panthers after investing a decent amount of money in the Pro Bowl running back to secure his services in free agency.
Therefore, we'll put Chuba Hubbard under the microscope.
Hubbard is the team's No. 1 running back option right now. He's a former fourth-round selection who's seen as someone currently blossoming into a prominent role after being written off before previous head coach Matt Rhule was fired.
The former Oklahoma State star looks a lot better than he did as a rookie. However, one could make a case for his regression in 2023 based on his statistics.
Let's look at 2022 first once Hubbard was installed into the rotation by Steve Wilks as part of their power-run scheme:
- 95 carries
- 466 rushing yards
- 2 touchdowns
- 4.9 yards per carry
- 14 receptions
- 171 receiving yards
Now, let's look at 2023 within Frank Reich and Thomas Brown's offense:
- 94 carries
- 351 rushing yards
- 1 touchdown
- 3.7 yards per carry
- 21 receptions
- 110 receiving yards
There are mitigating factors in play. A bland scheme, an offensive line not creating enough holes, and a passing attack incapable of moving the chains consistently immediately spring to mind.
However, if Hubbard wants to prove beyond all doubt he can be a legitimate top backfield option, he needs to do more. The great running backs can all make things happen no matter the circumstance, which is a level the 2021 fourth-round pick wants to reach.
Anything less would likely see the Panthers look at others - perhaps from the college ranks - who can handle lead duties.