This week I asked NFL Draft writer, Jon Ledyard, some questions to get his thoughts on the Denver Broncos first-round pick, Bradley Chubb. Ledyard specializes in scouting and writing about edge rushers, but is also well versed in all position groups, and graciously agreed to answer some questions about the Broncos newest edge rusher.
Also, I had a chance to meet Ledyard at the Senior Bowl this year. I found him to be a stand up guy who does great work. You can check him out on Twitter (@LedyardNFLDraft), NDTScouting, or FanRag Sports.
Let’s dive in!
First off, tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing/scouting.
I’ve always wanted to cover the NFL Draft, and began formally writing about it in 2014. I went to school for Communication: Sports Broadcasting/Sports Information and spent a lot of it on the journalism side of things, so that’s my background.
I know edge rushers is your specialty and you’ve watched a lot of tape on these draft prospects. Give us your elevator pitch on Bradley Chubb.
Chubb has everything you want in a pass rusher at a younger age than you typically get it. His bend might not be elite, but it’s easily good enough, and his hands, vision, pass rush plan and versatility are rare for a college edge defender.
Chubb doesn’t have elite flexibility in his hips, but he tilts the corner so well by putting his foot in the ground at the top of the arc and leaning/powering his way through contact to the pocket pic.twitter.com/GoP5TK6iBI— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) December 1, 2017
What’s Chubb’s greatest strength and perhaps something he brings that other rushers in this class don’t.
The aspect of pass rushing most commonly lost on most fans is mental processing. Most good rushes start with the ability to take in information and react to it in an aggressive, decisive manner. Chubb can read and attack pass sets, knows when to counter, and sets up his moves to win in intricate ways. It’s pretty rare for a prospect to be that developed all-around as a rusher.
Snatch to rip combo. College edge rushers just don’t do this stuff. Chubb is a rare one. pic.twitter.com/rv6AYtiEpt— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) December 2, 2017
What are his potential limitations at the next level?
He’s not a true burst-to-bend rusher, at least at an elite level. He can still win this way though. Occasionally Chubb can be too aggressive and get knocked off balance.
Louis Riddick said if Myles Garrett and Bradley Chubb were in the same class, he would take Chubb. What are your thoughts? Where does Chubb stack up compared to the last few years of top pass rushers drafted?
Chubb is the more polished of the two players, but Garrett was on his way in that department, and is a ridiculous athlete with elite physical tools. Chubb has a dog in him that is hard to deny though. If Garrett stays on that level of intensity consistently he’ll be the better player.
I know some like pro comps and others don’t. Do you have a pro comp for Chubb?
I’m not a big pro comp guy. There’s some Bosa in Chubb’s game, but Bosa is the best technician I’ve ever seen out of college. Chubb is probably closer to a bigger version of current Brandon Graham.
You may recall Brandon Graham from his recent game winning strip sack of Tom Brady in the Super Bowl (where he was an edge rusher lined up inside, for what it’s worth).
What does Chubb bring to Denver’s rush unit that it’s other players (Barrett, Ray) possibly don’t have?
Ray isn’t as athletic or as nuanced a rusher as Chubb, and Barrett just isn’t close to as polished in any way. Chubb trumps both of them in basically every way.
There’s been a lot of talk about Chubb moving to “OLB” and if that’s a good fit. What is Chubb’s best role fit, and does the 3-4/4-3 designation matter?
The 3-4/4-3 doesn’t matter unless we’re talking about dropping into coverage. Frankly, if Chubb gets double digit sacks (which he should), who cares if he sucks in coverage (he won’t)? As long as he’s comfortable rushing from a two-point stance, which he did often in college, it shouldn’t be an issue.
I look at some of the things that the Chargers do with Joey Bosa and Ingram and start getting excited. If you’re Denver’s DC, what’s some creative ways you’re looking to unleash this stable of pass rushers?
The Chargers often use Ingram and Bosa together on the same side, which has been successful despite the obvious pre-snap tip that a game might be coming. Personally, I’m of the opinion that great 1v1 pass rushers should be permitted to do their thing without adding complicated schematic wrinkles. Nevertheless, I expect Chubb will be a bit of a chess piece, and we could see both lining up to a side to get a double-speed element on their twists up front.
Melvin Ingram & Joey Bosa on the same side. They should do this more often. Chester needs to recognize this stunt better. pic.twitter.com/gcUu2DS3YC— Allen Strk (@Allen_Strk) October 26, 2016
What’s a realistic first year expectation/ceiling for a guy like Chubb?
8 sacks. Won’t surprise me if Chubb gets more either. Playing opposite Von Miller will open up opportunities, and he already plays like a season veteran.
Who are your favorite picks from Denver’s draft class? Why?
Outside of Chubb, I also loved the DaeSean Hamilton pick because they need a guy who can be a full-time slot, but also step outside and can win there as well. It was a little high for me to draft Royce Freeman, but I think he can definitely add a solid back to the rotation. He’s experienced, can catch and has a strong understanding of pass protection concepts, although he wasn’t utilized a ton in that role this past season.
Thanks a ton to Jon Ledyard for the time and insight! Ya’ll check him out on Twitter @LedyardNFLDraft, and sound off in the comments with your thoughts.