Bradley Chubb makes case to be top-five pick
By MICHAEL MAROT
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Bradley Chubb would normally be content relying on game tapes to make his case to scouts.
There, he insists, they will find a big man with edge-rushing skills and enough power to stuff the run. Watch enough of footage and it just might convince those NFL executives that Chubb is the best defensive player in this year's NFL draft.
But this is no typical week for North Carolina State's star defensive end. He's participating in the NFL's annual scouting combine in Indianapolis, answering questions and dropping names.
"I try to take Khalil Mack and Von Miller and put them into one person," Chubb said Saturday. "I'm a high-motor, high-energy guy."
If team executives concur, his name could be one of the first three called in April.
Naturally, Chubb describes himself as the best player in Indy this weekend and who's going to argue with a 6-foot-4, 269-pound man.
Not the deep, diverse quarterback group, which did its on-the-field workouts Saturday and will likely spend the next few years trying to escape Chubb's grasp.
Not the highly touted running back class, which includes Saquon Barkley and Chubb's own cousin, Nick, who will be running away from a lineman who posted 25 sacks and 54+ tackles for loss over the past three seasons.
Sure, there are questions.
Is he big enough to hold up against the NFL's massive tackles, does he have enough moves to make an immediate impact, can he make a smooth transition to the more physical pro game?
He might also be asked to explain why he spat upon the Florida State logo following North Carolina State's upset win or why he decided to skip the Wolfpack's bowl game.
Those who know Chubb best have no doubt he will succeed.
"He's so happy, always smiling," said offensive tackle Will Richardson, a college teammate who routinely squared off with Chubb in practice.
"He's a goofball. We used to get grapes after a game and he would come over and knock them out of your hands and someone would be like `Why did you do that?' But he always had a few extra grapes in his other hand to give to you. He's definitely a goofball, a goofball in a good way."
Many believe there's nothing goofy about him being possibly the best pass-rusher in a draft heavy on interior linemen - and thin at one of the NFL's most coveted positions.
Those challenging Chubb's title include Marcus Davenport of UTSA, Sam Hubbard of Ohio State, Arden Key of LSU and Harold Landry of Boston College.
Each had college careers that ranged from solid to spectacular, and each knows they must answer questions about size, injuries or the competition level they've faced.
"Nobody in this draft class has a first step like mine," Landry said. "My mindset and my approach to the game, I'm a guy that's going to do whatever it takes to be the best at my position."
But those who played alongside Chubb understand his impact cannot be measured in stats alone.
"We got to win more games," college teammate and combine invitee Justin Jones said. "Having a guy like Bradley Chubb on the edge, it turns a lot of plays back to us and the rest of the team. They want to take Bradley out of the game, and we have other (defensive) linemen that can make plays."
Chubb appears to have the size to play right away, room to grow and even bloodlines working in his favor.
His father, Aaron, played at Georgia. His older brother, Brandon, starred at Wake Forest before being signed by the Los Angeles Rams as an undrafted free agent in 2016 and spending most of that season on the Detroit Lions' practice squad.
So if things fall the right way, Bradley Chubb could become the highest-drafted descendant of the family that established "Chubbtown" - a rural area in northwestern Georgia, three miles from the Alabama border- in the mid-1800s.
And that's an honor Chubb would treasure.
"When you're there, you feel it," he said. "My last name is Chubb, and I wear it with pride."
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Updated March 3, 2018