Chuba Hubbard, Kylin Hill's Top Landing Spots in 2021 NFL Draft

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 1, 2021

Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard (30) carries during an NCAA college football game against Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

We're through three rounds at the NFL draft, and just four running backs—Najee Harris to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Travis Etienne to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Javonte Williams to the Denver Broncos and Trey Sermon to the San Francisco 49ers—have come off the board. 

That leaves some enticing potential prospects available for running back-needy teams. Two of them are Mississippi State's Kylin Hill and Oklahoma State's Chuba Hubbard

They each offer a different skill package. Hill is a more physical and violent runner, with the ability to shed off potential tacklers with lateral elusiveness and lower-body strength. He's not a game-breaker who will cut once and outrun the defense to the goal line, but he'll get tough yards between the tackles and he's solid enough in the passing game. 

He didn't do much in 2020, appearing in just three games, but showed his promise in the 2019 season, rushing for 1,350 yards and 10 scores. 

He'd pair nicely on a team in need of a physical runner, one that has other home run hitters on offense already. The Atlanta Falcons come to mind. Mike Davis will be the starter and Cordarrelle Patterson can add some sizzle on gadget plays and as a receiver out of the backfield. 

But Hill would give them a nice option between the tackles. He'd make a lot of sense in Atlanta. 

As for Hubbard, he's more explosive than Hill and has good burst through the hole. He was superb in 2019, rushing for 2,094 yards and 20 touchdowns, though teams found a way to contain him in 2020, holding him to 625 rushing yards and five touchdowns in seven games. 

Not poor production, by any means, but nowhere close to the absurd production he posted in 2019. 

Lance Zierlein of NFL.com noted Hubbard is a "tempo-driven runner as an outside-zone back playing peek-a-boo behind his blocks," adding that he "has the talent to become a committee back with upside for a zone-based rushing attack."

The Buffalo Bills like to spread teams out with Josh Allen at quarterback and run zone-blocking schemes. A player like Hubbard would fit the team's scheme, pairing with Devin Singletary and Zack Moss to give them a solid three-headed committee.

Is it a huge need? No. But there was buzz before the draft that the team really liked Etienne and wanted to nab him in the first round. That didn't happen—and Hubbard isn't as explosive or dangerous in the passing game as Etienne, so it's hardly a like-for-like comparison—but if Buffalo is still in the market for another running back, Hubbard could be a nice consolation prize. 

Other teams to keep in mind for both players: The Miami Dolphins and New York Jets. Both teams desperately need to upgrade at running back, though with plenty of options still on the board, they'll have a variety of options to choose from Saturday.