While there are different quarterback flavors à la Ben & Jerry’s available to the New York Giants and general manager Dave Gettleman with the No. 2 overall pick, there is only one real option as a pass-rusher at the top of the draft. North Carolina State’s Bradley Chubb is the Google of the outside linebackers/defensive ends. Nobody else is even comparable.
He’s going to be a high pick in this draft. He is likely to be a top-five selection on Thursday night and an option for the Giants with the second pick.
Given Gettleman’s approach to team building, Chubb is a realistic option. Gettleman believes in building along the lines and rushing the passer. Two of his five first-round picks with the Carolina Panthers were spent on the defensive line.
What the Giants would be getting with Chubb is what one person described as a cross between two of the most ferocious pass-rushers in the NFL: Denver’s Von Miller and Oakland’s Khalil Mack. At least that was Miller’s assessment last week.
What team wouldn’t want that? Certainly the Giants, after trading Jason Pierre-Paul and finishing last season 29th in the NFL in sacks, could find a use for a mix of Miller and Mack, or even a sawed-off version.
“That’s jaw-dropping for him to come out and say it,” Chubb told ESPN late last week of Miller’s assessment.
Chubb sees some of his game in Miller and Mack. He believes his quick twitch and speed off the edge are a shade of Miller. The long arms and power are a bit of Mack.
Chubb’s 34-inch arms are longer than Mack’s (33¼). He also ran the 40-yard dash in 4.65 seconds at 269 pounds. Mack ran the 40 in 4.65 seconds at 251 pounds and Miller in 4.53 seconds at 246 pounds.
The comparisons are not all apples and apples. Chubb didn’t show the same type of explosion as Mack and Miller in the short shuttle and 3-cone drills at the NFL combine. Miller ran a 6.7 in the 3-cone and 4.06 in the shuttle. Mack ran 7.08 and 4.18. Both were significantly twitchier at the combine than Chubb.
None of it matters to the consensus top pass-rusher in this year’s draft. He views himself as a football player, as evidenced by his 25 sacks in the past three seasons.
“The L-cone and stuff like that, I didn’t feel my best doing it,” Chubb said. “I knew my times would be bad, so a lot of people put weight on that. At the end of the day, I play football. Those drills right there are something you do to confirm your ability.”
With the Giants, the decision on whether to draft Chubb rests on where he would fit in their defense. He’s a natural rusher who has mostly played with his hand on the ground. The Giants are switching to a base 3-4 defense, with Olivier Vernon expected to fill the role of full-time rusher that was occupied by Chandler Jones in Arizona last season in coordinator James Bettcher’s defense.
“I’ve played in a 4-3 in college, so I would say I’m most comfortable with that just because of four years of doing it. But when it comes to standing up, I’ve done that as well,” Chubb said. “It just wasn’t our base packages. I’ve done both. I feel comfortable doing both. I don’t feel like I should be put in a box — that I’m only a down end or a stand-up end. If a team needs me to do both, I have the skill set to do it.”
Chubb said he dropped into coverage an estimated 25 percent of the time at N.C. State, which is likely a generously high estimate. He knows it’s not his top skill but will do whatever is asked of him by his new team.
If Chubb were selected by the Giants, it would likely put into question Vernon’s long-term future with the team. The two could likely co-exist for a year or two, with the Giants in sub-packages for passing downs 60-plus percent of the time anyway. But in the long term, Chubb is likely best served in the role pegged for Vernon this season, with newly signed linebacker Kareem Martin handling the dirty work.
The Giants spoke to Chubb at the NFL scouting combine, they were at his pro day and they had him in East Rutherford for a private visit. He came away impressed with what he heard, and he would welcome being selected No. 2 overall and landing in New York.
“All positive. Mr. Gettleman is a great dude,” he said. “We had a chance to sit down and talk. He was talking not even about life during football but life after football. How I could come in and set myself up to help my family for generations. Sitting down and having a real talk was cool. Just sitting down with Coach [Pat] Shurmur and all the coaching staff … just sitting there talking football with those guys was cool. It was a great experience.”
Chubb would even have a familiar face in the locker room. He was high school teammates with tight end Evan Engram, and he is best friends with Engram’s sister Mackenzie, who was recently selected in the third round of the WNBA draft.