Georgia’s best running-back duo in several decades — maybe ever — is just two weeks away from the NFL draft, and not much separates them on analysts’ draft boards. Nick Chubb figures to be a second-round or early third-round pick, while former teammate Sony Michel might hear his name called slightly earlier.
Wednesday, NFL Network analyst Bucky Brooks called both of them “outstanding.”
In particular, Brooks raved about Michel’s versatility and made a favorable comparison to another recent SEC star.
“Sony is dynamic,” Brooks said in a conference call. “He’s explosive. He’s proven to be a very, very effective runner and receiver. … I think he will benefit from the Alvin Kamara comparison that many scouts have put on him. When you look at the impact that Kamara was able to have with the New Orleans Saints, as a change-of-pace or matchup weapon, I think many offensive coordinators will view [Michel] like that. And because of that, I think he can go anywhere from the bottom of the first round to the top of the second round for a team that is looking for a chess piece to manipulate on the board.”
Brooks noted that this running back class is particularly deep, with a glut of talented backs who will come off the board between the second and fourth rounds.
But co-analyst Daniel Jeremiah also said that Michel is good enough that teams might not care.
“I think you can get a little carried away with the depth of this running back class,” Jeremiah said. “For example, if you have huge grades on Sony Michel and you’re picking at the bottom of the first round or top of the second round — even though you like a guy like [Miami’s] Mark Walton or [Auburn’s] Kerryon Johnson later on — if you have conviction in the entire room, I think you just take [Michel]. I don’t think you get cute.”
Nick Chubb’s ‘depressed’ value
On the other hand, Brooks said he sees Chubb — who finished his Georgia career just ahead of Michel in second place on the Bulldogs’ all-time rushing list — as a player who might not have as much to offer NFL teams.
“Nick Chubb, to me, is an old-school downhill running back,” Brooks said. “He’s a guy that traditionally would’ve played in the ’80s and ’90s, come downhill, put him as the ‘dot’ in the I-Formation and let him have 25 to 30 carries. In today’s game, that is more of a niche role where you see those guys play on first and second down.
“And because of that, I think his value will be depressed a little bit. I see him as maybe a solid second-round back. A guy that goes and joins a rotation. Handles the early duties before giving way to another back that can handle some of the things in the passing game.”
Not everyone agrees that Michel is the superior prospect. ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said Chubb is his favorite of the “second-tier” players at that position.
“Michel, if he had a little bit better ball security would probably be ahead of Chubb,” Kiper said last week. “But Chubb, just from a consistency standpoint, even though Michel finished stronger, may go a little bit higher.”
Regardless, both Chubb and Michel should expect to hear their names called on one of the first two days of the draft — April 26 or 27 — in Arlington, Texas.
Georgia running backs in the NFL draft
Here’s a look at how some recent Georgia running backs have fared on draft day:
|Todd Gurley||2015||1||10||St. Louis|
|Patrick Pass||2000||7||239||New England|
Where do you think Chubb and Michel will be selected in the 2018 NFL Draft? Let us know in the comments section below.