Just over a month later, it’s still unbelievable.
Bradley Chubb was there at No. 5 for the Denver Broncos? Even the most hopeful of fans couldn’t have expected that. There was no way the Cleveland Browns would pass on a guy some had ranked higher than the player they drafted at No. 1 the year before. Alas we should have known better since it’s the Browns. Instead of a pass-rushing duo that could match any in the NFL, Cleveland chose defensive back Denzel Ward. The dream scenario was now reality for John Elway and the Broncos.
Chubb and Von Miller on the same defense? As mentioned earlier, it’s still unbelievable. Add in Shaquil Barrett and Shane Ray ... imagine how giddy Joe Woods is putting this defense together and the range of possibilities he now possesses to get his defense after the quarterback. You can never have enough pass rushers, and the Denver defense is now stock full of them.
Will the reality of Chubb match the hype?
Name: Bradley Chubb
Position: Outside linebacker
College: NC State
The Broncos now have one of the best pass-rushing duos in the NFL. What makes this even better is Chubb can learn from Miller, on the field and off. In a sense, like Miller got from his idol a few years ago.
Chubb was the best defensive player in the draft, and some had him as the best overall player in the draft. His ability and creativity to get after the quarterback is undeniable. He has the intelligence. He has the work ethic. Oh, and he’s also strong against the run, so Chubb isn’t a one-trick pony.
The hope was that DeMarcus Ware would serve as a pass rush consultant between now and training camp. As it turns out, I was writing this, Mike Klis tweeted that Ware would be at Broncos headquarters today and the next few days as a “guest coach/observer.” One of Ware’s main focuses will no doubt include Chubb, but also the other pass rushers and his former teammates (Miller, Barrett and Ray). For the rookie to learn from one of the best ever, even if it’s for just a few days and practices, will do wonders for him. Ware is a great teacher, and when he was a player, you would always see him coaching up his teammates any chance he could.
To work with Miller, and now Ware, increases the likelihood Chubb flourishes in his rookie season. It puts him in the best possible situation to have success, and that’s all a team can do for young players. Make it as easy for them as possible. Chubb obviously has the talent, but the jump to the NFL is far from simple.
Come September, 31 other teams will be wondering how they let Von Miller and Bradley Chubb end up on the same team.— Jeffrey Essary (@JeffreyEssary) May 30, 2018
Until Chubb makes it through training camp and at least one preseason game, it’s hard to know what he needs to work on. While it’s still super early in the process, Chubb has impressed through rookie mini camp, Phase II of the offseason program and now OTAs. The key now is to make it stick, and continue to progress.
Perhaps more important than on the field, is off the field. How does Chubb take to the overload in the pass-rushing room learning the calls, formations and plays? How fast does he process that information and does it impact his play? While watching himself on the projection screen with his teammates, how does he take to criticism? Just as important is how his body responds to the grind. No amount of college preparation gets your body and mind ready for the everyday wear-and-tear of the NFL.
The other important aspect for this, as is true for any rookie, is how Chubb responds to his first touch of adversity in the NFL. It’s inevitable he faces a speed bump, how he responds will be a great indicator of the type of player Chubb is and could become.
“He’s great,” Miller said of Chubb on Tuesday. “He reminds me of myself. He texts me late at night. Texts me at 3 in the morning. I’m up (laughing). I’m all for it. It’s good. It’s some of the same stuff that I was doing with DeMarcus. So, it’s cool. It’s cool to pay it forward and tell him some of the same stuff that DeMarcus told me and Elvis Dumervil told me. It’s cool.”
On what he was doing awake at 3 a.m.
“It was the weekend,” Miller said, laughing. “We were just talking about OTAs and what to expect, what stuff matters and what stuff doesn’t matter. To me, stuff that might matter to the other person really don’t matter to me. So I’ll just give them my point of view and just talking. Just doing more talking than what you probably would in the locker room.”
The only question is how big the imprint Chubb leaves. Some have him as the odds-on favorite to win rookie defensive player of the year, I’m not ready to go that far. I am, however, excited to see what Chubb brings to the Broncos and this defense. I’m over the moon to see what he and Miller do as a duo.
The fact we get to see that play out is still unbelievable.