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Bradley Chubb vs. Myles Garrett

Some draft analysts have said Chubb is better than Garrett, the top pick in last year’s draft. Is that true? It’s time to find out.

AP Images/Ringer illustration

In the run-up to this year’s NFL draft, all the hoopla around what’s being hailed as the deepest quarterback group in the past three decades has overshadowed the other blue-chip prospects. Take Bradley Chubb: The former NC State star is far and away the top pass rusher this year, but has flown relatively under the radar—especially compared to the massive hype Myles Garrett got last spring as the draft’s top sack artist. Garrett was roundly billed as a generational talent, and after demonstrating rare athleticism at the combine, solidified himself as the no-brainer selection for the Browns with first overall pick. Chubb hasn’t enjoyed the same level of attention despite posting elite numbers in college and showing off speed and explosiveness at the combine.

Still, with just about a month left until the big event, Chubb’s hype train has started to pick up steam. ESPN analysts Louis Riddick and Ryan Clark both opined last week that Chubb is a better prospect than Garrett was at this time last year, with Riddick, a former personnel director with the Redskins who interviewed for the vacant Giants general manager job in December, stating: “[If you’re] stacking [Chubb] up play-for-play with [Garrett] and they’re both coming out at the same time, I’m taking Bradley Chubb ahead of Myles Garrett. I think he’s that good.” And Riddick’s not alone: FOX’s Bruce Feldman reported that several NFL people he spoke to at the combine think Chubb’s “a better all-around defensive end than the guy who went no. 1 last year.”

Are we sleeping on Chubb’s potential? Does he belong in the same stratosphere—the once-every-ten-years type of talent—that Garrett was in last year? I took a close look the stats, the measurables, and most importantly, the tape to figure out just how Chubb stacks up to last year’s top overall pick in a few of the most important categories.

The Stats

Let’s look at Garret and Chubb’s final three years in college side-by-side:

Chubb vs. Garrett Stats

Player Games Sacks Tackles Tackle for Loss Forced Fumbles
Player Games Sacks Tackles Tackle for Loss Forced Fumbles
Myles Garrett 34 31.0 141 47 7
Bradley Chubb 38 25.0 194 54.5 6

Garrett’s best season came in 2015, when he racked up 19.5 TFLs, 11.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, and an interception. But his numbers trailed off slightly in 2016 as he fought through a knee injury, and he tallied 15.0 TFLs and 8.5 sacks in 10 games.

Meanwhile, Chubb was a prolific producer for the Wolfpack, and ended his college career on a high note, finishing second in the nation with 23 tackles for a loss while posting his second 10-sack season in a row.

Edge: This one’s close, but Garrett narrowly gets the nod in the statistical category because of his sack totals through three years. Chubb lived in offensive backfields during his college career, and that tackle-for-loss total is impressive, but in the NFL, getting to the quarterback is king—and Garrett posted six more career sacks in six fewer games.

The Measurables

Chubb vs. Garrett Measureables

Player Height Weight Arm length Wingspan Hand size 40-yard dash Vertical leap Broad jump Bench press
Player Height Weight Arm length Wingspan Hand size 40-yard dash Vertical leap Broad jump Bench press
Myles Garrett 6-foot-4 272 lbs 35.25 inches 82.6 inches 10.25 inches 4.64 seconds 41 inches 128 inches 33 reps
Bradley Chubb 6-foot-4 269 lbs 34 inches 79 inches 9.8 inches 4.65 seconds 36 inches 121 inches 24 reps

Garrett and Chubb both measured out at right around the same height and weight, but the former Aggie is longer, stronger, and more explosive. Garrett tested out in the 98th percentile among NFL edge players in Zach Whitman’s SPARQ rating, and Chubb finished in the 78th percentile.

Edge: Chubb’s the same height as Garrett and only slightly lighter. But Garrett showed truly rare explosiveness at last year’s combine and boasted superior length, which is a big deal for a pass rusher in swatting away blocks and keeping offensive tackles on their heels.

The Tape

Get-off

The first thing I look for in an NFL pass rusher is the speed at which he can explode off the line at the snap. Quarterbacks are getting rid of the ball faster and faster every year, and unless a defender can time the snap well and get upfield in the blink of an eye, he’s going to have a hard time affecting the play. Garrett was unmatched in his ability to uncoil and shoot out of his stance at Texas A&M—there were times he looked like Von Miller as he ran past blockers before they even started their pass set—and that lightning-quick first step was the foundation on which he built most of his pass-rush plan.

Chubb’s get-off is nothing to sniff at, but his pass-rush style isn’t defined by the ability to sprint past offensive tackles on his first few steps. The NC State star more frequently utilized subtle shoulder-jukes or rocker-step moves in conjunction with that upfield burst and a hand swat to get past an offensive tackle and into the backfield.

Edge: The explosive first step Garrett displayed at Texas A&M was extraordinary. He didn’t run past tackles on every snap, obviously, but there were times when he was in the backfield so quickly it was like he knew when the ball would be snapped before the quarterback did. Chubb’s get-off translates well to the NFL, but it doesn’t match what Garrett showed in college.

Bend

Of course, those first few steps don’t mean much if a pass rusher can’t turn the corner and get to the passer. Both Chubb and Garrett demonstrated an ability to dip their shoulder, plant their foot, and bend around the tackle and into the pocket to either move the quarterback or bring him down. Here’s Chubb doing just that, grabbing ahold of Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson to take him to the ground.

From an athletic point of view, that play reminded me a lot of this near-sack by Garrett from 2016. Rushing from the inside, Garrett ran past the offensive guard’s outside shoulder before turning on a dime to come back into the pocket and rush Auburn quarterback Sean White’s throw.

Edge: Chubb is very impressive in the flexibility department, but there weren’t quite as many “wow” plays from the NC State product as there were from Garrett—plays where the Browns’ top pick would cut at angles that didn’t seem possible for a player that size. Garrett gets the nod in this category too.

Pass-Rush Repertoire

Here’s where Chubb starts to close some ground on Garrett. Chubb makes up for a less explosive first step and fewer raw tools with a more rounded and polished pass-rush plan, and utilizes a variety of moves and heavy hands to keep opposing tackles off-balance and constantly guessing. He frequently goes to an effective dip-and-rip move, when he ducks his shoulder into the outside edge of the tackle, then rips his inside arm through in order to turn the corner.

Chubb mixed in a powerful stab move (putting his hand right into the chest of a tackle in order to control them), an arm-over/swim move, a bull-rush, and a devastating hump move. This play ended up as a Florida State touchdown, but you can see Chubb toss the left tackle to the ground with his inside arm after forcing his opponent to the outside:

Another nice changeup rush Chubb utilized was to take one step to the outside before slicing through the line on the inside shoulder of the opposing tackle. The Wolfpack used Chubb on plenty of stunts, too.

Edge: Garrett was less polished at this time last year. He showed flashes of a nice spin move and he utilized a hump move a few times, but relied heavily on his speed and first-step quickness to beat slower-footed tackles to the edge. When that didn’t work, he went straight to a bull rush a little too often. Chubb’s got the edge here because he has several effective pass-rush moves at his disposal.

Run Defense

Garrett was primarily known for his pass-rush chops coming out of Texas A&M, but he was a pretty disruptive run defender, too. He’d frequently blow up opponents’ read-option plays at the mesh point, and it was never a very good idea to ask a tight end to block him at the point of attack:

But the thing that did bug me in watching Garrett’s tape was a few too many low-intensity plays (which he admitted to) and a bit too much pile watching; i.e., letting his teammates do the dirty work of tackling. You do not get that impression watching Chubb: The first thing that pops off the tape is the ferocity in which he plays on every single snap—and he’s always running at full throttle right up to the whistle. That shines through in particular against the run, and he was a force to be dealt with for opposing blockers trying to clear a lane for a running back.

Instead of watching plays from the periphery, Chubb takes leaping dives onto piles. That type of intensity is infectious for a defense, and he’s a lock to quickly emerge as an on-field leader for whichever team selects him.

Edge: There’s a reason Chubb finished second in the nation in tackles for a loss last year. He’s a tough, powerful run defender who plays with incredible anticipation and can anchor against just about any block thrown his way.

Versatility

Chubb’s talent in run defending means that he’ll be suited to play on either side of the line, and that’s the type of versatility that every defensive coach is looking for. It also means he’s going to be able to stay on the field in any situation, whether that’s setting the edge against the run on first and second down or trying to get after the passer on third down. Garrett’s a three-down player, too, and showed his ability to line up all over Texas A&M’s line, bringing the heat from the outside at times, and kicking inside to rush against guards at the three-technique alignment.

Edge: This one’s a wash. Both players have the ability to make plays from multiple spots along the line.


Garrett was never a perfect prospect, and neither is Chubb. As for judging who’s the “better football player,” or “better prospect,” well, those are both pretty subjective titles. After watching the tape from both guys, I understand where Riddick, Clark, and any NFL evaluators who rate Chubb over Garrett are coming from: Chubb has developed an advanced tool set of moves as a pass rusher, he’s tenacious against the run, he plays with speed and power, and he always seems to know where the play is going. But I still think Garrett deserved the hype he carried into last year’s draft, and overall he was a better talent coming into the league than Chubb is this year.

It’s closer than I thought it was going to be, though. Garrett’s ceiling remains sky-high, as he only scratched the surface of his potential in his first season with the Browns, and collected seven sacks in nine starts after missing the first month of the season to an ankle injury. What teams likely see in Chubb is a higher floor—a more polished all-around player who can make a big impact in year one.