The Seahawks' primary task this offseason is to give Russell Wilson his best chance to succeed. This includes adding significant improvements to the interior offensive line, an upgrade to the third wide receiver position, tight end help, and a more explosive running game.
The latter of these necessary upgrades comes from the impending departure of Chris Carson, whose physical running style and value in the passing game will be difficult to replace. Rashaad Penny has flashed but hasn't been healthy for a long enough stretch of games to prove that he can be trusted to carry the load. Seattle likes DeeJay Dallas and Travis Homer, but neither are reliable options for a team wanting to make its first deep playoff run in five years.
There are some interesting options for the Seahawks to consider in free agency, but with so many holes to fill, adding a back in the draft is likely the best course of action. But without first and third-round picks, John Schneider will need to be sure to grab the right runner. Could that guy come from Chris Carson's alma mater? Let's take a look at Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard and see for ourselves.
Hubbard was extremely productive for the Oklahoma State Cowboys, rushing for over 3,400 yards and 33 touchdowns in his three-year run, including a prodigious 2019 that saw him rush for an incredible 2,094 yards and 21 touchdowns. There won't be a back with a more impressive statistical resume than Hubbard in this class.
Hubbard shows fairly good size, standing at an even 6-foot and weighing in at 207 pounds. While he possesses solid, above-average speed, Hubbard's best trait is his vision, which allows him to see creases as they develop. Hubbard is a one-cut and go runner, and his ability to analyze his blocking combined with above-average speed gives him a big-play ability that is slightly different than what Seattle has had in the past at the position.
Hubbard accelerates through the hole and has enough agility to make defenders miss in the open field. His visions, speed, acceleration, agility, and football IQ are all solidly above-average, giving him the chance to hit big plays from anywhere on the field. He also possesses underrated power for his size.
Aside from his monstrous 2019 season, Hubbard's freshman and junior seasons were simply good, giving Hubbard one elite season in Stillwater. While he has quite a few above-average tools, only his vision would reach the "great" threshold and other backs in this class will likely blow him away in testing.
Hubbard has good size, but he doesn't fit the mold of most Seahawks runners and indeed looks slender on the field. Hubbard will struggle to create yards on his own and his poor balance coupled with running too upright will cause him to be brought down from arm tackles too frequently. He was a non-factor in the Cowboys passing game, both as a receiver and blocker, though there is enough athleticism to improve in both areas at the next level.
Fit in Seattle
Hubbard shows a particular knack for the stretch run game and in trap, two concepts that new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron is likely to use more of than his predecessor, Brian Schottenheimer. With Penny and Alex Collins already in-house, Hubbard brings more of a home run hitter profile, something Pete Carroll does covet.
However, the lack of contact balance, power running skills, and work as a receiver are going to be issues Seattle may not be able to overlook. Hubbard is likely a day three selection, making him one of the more affordable big names in this draft class, but the Seahawks will need to feel like Hubbard can show significant growth quickly to justify using their precious few resources on the Canadian running back prospect.