Hype and pressure are two incredible forces.
The byproduct is either a lump of coal or a diamond. What makes all of it so unpredictable is just that. You can try and force it, but the best results come naturally.
Bradley Chubb had both the hype and pressure when he was selected by the Denver Broncos. He was considered the best defensive player in the NFL Draft, and you put him opposite Von Miller? The excitement Broncos Country felt when Chubb fell to the No. 5 pick was disbelief.
But in an age of instant gratification and “right now,” the slightest imperfection means it’s over. Early in the season, Chubb struggled. Were those two factors too much for the rookie? Some seemed to think so. “It’s over, thanks for the coal.”
As it stands today, Chubb is shining like a rare gem.
The Broncos rookie sits at nine sacks, and, with six games left in the regular season, has a legitimate chance to break the NFL rookie sack record of 14.5 set by Jevon Kearse in 1999. To put Chubb’s season in perspective, Miller had 11.5 sacks in his rookie season when he won NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. Just like Chubb, Miller had a veteran sack specialist paired with him — Elvis Dumervil, who finished that 2011 season with 9.5 sacks.
As I told Adam Malnati on the latest MHR Radio Podcast, what’s more impressive than the sacks is the fact Chubb is putting it all together and becoming a complete player.
After a comeback win for the #Broncos, @AdamMalnati16 and I had some fun with the @MileHighReport Radio Podcast. Couldn't help but enjoy the game. #BroncosCountry may still be concerned about the future, but a win over the #Chargers is always nice. https://t.co/vyvBMpcrgB— Ian St. Clair (@IanStClair) November 19, 2018
On top of his sack of Philip Rivers, he finished with seven tackles, four solo, two for loss, and two quarterback hits. On the season, Chubb has 37 tackles – 26 of those being solo – and a forced fumble. But the best thing to come from Sunday’s game, if we can indulge in a little fifth-grade humor, was the line from Dan Fouts in the first quarter when he said, “Chubb was in (Rivers’) face.”
Who knows what will happen over the remainder of the season, but if Chubb stays the course, he’ll win Defensive Rookie of the Year. If he sets the NFL rookie sack record, it’s a given, right?
What’s fun to ponder is the idea that Chubb can get even better. Remember: He’s a rookie. As good as Miller was in his rookie season, look where he is now. That’s not to say Chubb is or will be Miller, but holy shit, if he does or comes close ...
The excitement over what lies ahead for Chubb is real. That only magnifies when you add the one-two punch of Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman at running back, and the receiving duo of Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton (if he can stay healthy).
Hype and pressure are incredible forces. They either produce a lump of coal or a diamond.
Chubb is one of those rare, natural gems who is already sparkling in the Rocky Mountain sunshine.