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The team drafted Nick Chubb to hopefully handle that role in the future – and potentially this season if he proves himself worthy.
Cleveland drafted Chubb with their second pick in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. The 5-foot-11, 227-pounder from Georgia pounded SEC defenses for averages of 6.3 yards per rush and 11.6 yards per catch. He was a four-year starter and scored 48 touchdowns in 47 career games.
Chubb is among the strongest, most physical running backs in this draft class. A bruiser capable of picking up yards after contact, Chubb is also known for making smooth cuts when he runs, a trait that's not common among big-bodied backs. He's an exemplary fit as an early-downs running back and battery mate to Duke Johnson.
So you're either cursing your luck because Chubb landed with a team that already has a veteran player who can do what he does, or you're optimistic because Hyde has been prone to injuries over his four-year career, missing 14 games.
Either way, the outlook isn't ideal.
Chubb will have to prove to his new coaches he's better than Hyde in order to get even a sniff of an early-downs rushing role. Hyde might not be popular for Fantasy but he's no slouch, averaging 4.2 yards per carry over his 655 career carries with 21 rushing scores.
If you point to Hyde's injury problems and assume Chubb will just pick up the pieces when the veteran leaves the field, you've got something else to think about: Chubb enters the NFL with a checkered injury history of his own, including a torn left PCL, LCL and MCL stemming from an ugly incident in 2015.
In summary, the Browns run game is a mess. You'd like to think Duke Johnson would keep his role in passing downs while Hyde and Chubb figure out first- and second-downs one way or another. Drafting any of them in standard leagues will net you some quality bench players and a headache. Johnson's PPR value remains unscathed, but Hyde and Chubb will probably combine for half of the receptions Johnson gets.
Let's all hope something happens between now and your draft that changes Chubb's situation. Maybe Hyde wins the lottery or something. Until then, Chubb isn't worth more than a middle- to late-round choice as a rookie running back flier. Things change if we're talking dynasty or keeper leagues – he'll carry far more value since he'll eventually be the main back in Cleveland. In rookie drafts you'll see him get nabbed with a late first-round pick.