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2018 Early Draft Scouting/Fantasy Valuation: IDP Bradley Chubb vs. Marcus Davenport

Air Date:
February 11, 2018

2018 Scouting Preview: Bradley Chubb vs. Marcus Davenport

*Note – We obviously do not have the Combine measurables at this point, so our scouting model grades/thoughts could change radically ahead. This is just an early eyeball test, an intro to get to know some of the top names in the draft.

Initially, I just planned for this to be a preview on NC State DE prospect Bradley Chubb, because I had not seen one second of his tape but he’s a name I hear/see people pushing in the top 5 of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Draft expert Xavier Cromartie projected Chubb #3 to the Colts in his recent 2.0 Mock Draft, while our new Draft analyst ‘Ender’ had Chubb #7 to Tampa Bay in his 2.0 Mock Draft.

I set out to spend a day studying Chubb but UTSA DE Prospect Marcus Davenport came to mind while watching Chubb, so let’s do a little two-fer preview here. Actually, I did some work on Davenport ahead of the Senior Bowl and watched a lot of his activity at Senior Bowl week and I think Chubb and Davenport should run together in a 2018 NFL Draft discussion because they are kinda/sorta similar prospects in position, size, output in college.

Davenport is projected #19 to Dallas according to Xavier’s 2.0 and Ender sees him #20 to Detroit.

Chubb is listed as 6’3”/275 typically the highest rated DE prospect in the 2018 NFL Draft. Davenport is typically rated the #2 DE prospect in the draft and measured 6’6”/259 at the Senior Bowl.

For my mini-tape session, I watched Chubb in a couple Notre Dame matchups (2016 and 2017) against a 1st-round 2018 NFL Draft prospect OT Mike McGlinchey, South Carolina/2017 and in his bowl games.

After watching the tape and looking at performance data, I would say that Chubb is ‘the real deal’. In the sense that he is very good and deserves first-round accolades/projections. He is not a bust or hoax prospect that I can see (and I was prepared for it to be so). The question is – “Is Chubb a top 5 overall game-changer, or just a mid-1st-round grab who will be a delightful/solid pick?

First off, we must note, for those who haven’t started any deep studies of these guys either – Chubb is a legit 4-3 or 3-4 DE prospect, could play 3-4 OLB if desired but DE is where you want him. He’s 275 pounds (listed), so he’s a big guy but he’s sleek, proportioned like an athlete just not ‘big’…a true pass rushing DE. He’s not a bulk up to DT possibility. He’s a pure EDGE guy.

I liked everything I saw. Chubb gets off the snap smoothly and quickly. He has a very fast first step and is very nimble. Chubb often jab steps one way and then cuts back around the line and shoots up the middle or whatever gap he finds – he’s so fast he can take a detour and still get to the quarterback. A lot of EDGE guys cannot or will not do that – they only try to beat the blocker one-on-one. Chubb is ‘bouncy’. He’ll try to speed rush one play, but he’ll also stunt (not by design, but improvised) nicely at times, and most critically – he’ll stay home and play the run as needed. He’ll even drop into coverage fluidly. He’s a smart player. Chubb is a defensive end that is a B+ or A in every category you would consider (pass rush, run stop, energy, effort, build, etc.).

By comparison, top DE prospects drafted last year – Charles Harris, Takkarist McKinley, and Taco Charlton (Myles Garrett comparison discussion in a bit)…I can tell you the pros and cons for each one of their styles/games. Chubb is better than all of them just noted because he can do everything. I can’t give you a ‘con’ on his scouting report. He can speed rush, he can power/leverage rush, and he’ll play the run like a 3-4 or 4-3 DE if you want and he can drop into coverage smoothly. In addition, Chubb is a high effort guy…he doesn’t give up on plays. He’s always in motion.

To me, Chubb is like a smaller Cameron Jordan or bigger Khalil Mack…active and making plays or chasing plays constantly. I don’t think I witnessed a moment where I went ‘wow’…like he’s a freak of nature prospect. It’s just he’s so good and smooth at everything he does you can get kinda suckered into not thinking he’s great…but ‘great’ is on the table.

Two games against Notre Dame in 2016 and 2017, facing that top OT prospect Mike McGlinchey…5 tackles, 3.5 TFLs, 3.0 sacks in 2016 and 8 tackles, 3.0 TFLs, 1.0 sacks in 2017. He beat McGlinchey a few times and sometimes he just bounced around and came from the opposite side or stunted up the middle. He wasn;t squashed by McGlinchey. Chubb is just a very impressive, efficient, quality player/prospect.

My guess is Chubb is going to run a 4.6-4.70 40-time and at his size that’s a good time. He should post nice agility times as well. I’m thinking he’s more under 270 pounds than his listed 275. If Chubb runs in the low 4.6s or better…he should lock in as a top 10 draft pick, possibly/likely top 5.

The best way I could sum up Chubb: Bradley Chubb is not as great a pass rusher entity as 2017 #1 overall pick Myles Garrett, but he’s probably a better overall player if you want your DEs to do multiple things besides bum rush the backfield (but that’s a critical thing). Garrett is a destroyer. Chubb is just quality all the way around.

Some people are trying to push Marcus Davenport as the top DE prospect…a better version of Chubb. I get it.

Where the Davenport conundrum comes in is that he is not the all-around DE Chubb is on tape…but the Davenport ceiling is a lot higher. Davenport is more of a pure athletic rush EDGE guy. He has one mission – get into the backfield. Chubb handles several missions at a time. While Chubb is a nice size at 6’3”/275 (but probably more 265+), Davenport brings a 6’5.7” size with an 81” wingspan – that’s a real weapon of a body. Chubb is very quick, graceful…Davenport may be faster/stronger.

The issue is Davenport isn’t as polished as Chubb. He’s more raw. Davenport semi-struggled/didn’t stand out at the Senior Bowl the first two days and then came on day three and in-game…but the stories were already written -- the disappointment from the initial hype started shining through many Senior Bowl reports. I thought he was fine the whole week, just over-scrutinized. Davenport is more like a Takk McKinley, a bigger McKinley…they are going after the QB/backfield all the time and are tough to stop from doing so. He’s not as polished as McKinley, but with a little work and adding 5-10 pounds more bulk – you might have a true freak on your hands with Davenport.

To do a simple comparison, for draft analysis purposes…I might sum this up as – Chubb is a guaranteed B+/A- pick/prospect. Davenport is a possible A/A+ or C/C+ variation.

Do you want guaranteed good or do you want a shot at possibly great but with the risk he could strikeout?

We’ll re-examine this debate post-NFL Combine measurables.

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About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is an NFL Draft analyst for College Football Metrics, and a football projections analyst and writer for Fantasy Football Metrics. 

Learn more about RC and the College Football Metrics system >>