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Browns believe Georgia's Nick Chubb built to thrive in AFC North

The Browns view Nick Chubb as a running back built to play in Cleveland.

That's why they tabbed the former Georgia star with the 35th overall pick Friday night in the NFL Draft, giving head coach Hue Jackson and Co. another talented runner on what's been a fundamentally reshaped offense over the past month.

"I've been a big fan of Chubb for a long time. One thing about SEC running backs is, when you play running back in the SEC, you have to be able to create between the tackles with your feet," vice president of player personnel Alonzo Highsmith said. "You have to be able to play a physical style of football. Nick Chubb exemplifies that in his running style."

Chubb ran for 4,769 yards and 41 touchdowns in four seasons with the Bulldogs, including 1,547 yards as a freshman that paved the way toward winning SEC Freshman of the Year. After suffering a serious knee injury the following year, Chubb bounced back with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and helped power Georgia to a national title game appearance as a senior.

"He's super productive. I think he is second all-time in the SEC behind (former Georgia RB) Herschel Walker in rushing yards," assistant general manager Eliot Wolf said. "He's big. He has excellent feet for his size. He has good bursts. Powerful, breaks tackles. Super balanced."

While Chubb, a Georgia native who stayed home for college ball, has limited experience playing in colder weather, the Browns believe his frame (5-11, 225) and approach to the game lend itself to having success in the rugged AFC North.

Highsmith, a former running back himself with the Miami Hurricanes and, then, the Houston Oilers, compared Chubb to former Ravens/Browns bruiser Jamal Lewis. Backs like Chubb, he said, can thrive when the weather turns in November.

"I have watched the AFC North for a long time, and I do know one thing; it is big, physical, between the tackles running-style football," he said. 

"You look at the backs that have come out of the AFC, they have all been big. (Former Ravens RB) Ray Rice was short, but he was a powerful runner. When you play in this type of weather, similar to Green Bay and that kind of stuff, you have to be able to run the football."

Chubb joins a running backs room that includes the dynamic Duke Johnson Jr. and Carlos Hyde, who signed with the team in free agency after four seasons with the 49ers. While it's unclear what Chubb's role might be next season, Highsmith said there's no doubting Chubb's resiliency, pointing to how he bounced back from what could have been a potentially-devastating knee injury back in 2015.

"That tells you a lot about the person and his commitment, his will and his want to succeed," he said.

"In this game, football is the most brutal, physical game played. It takes certain types of people. It's not for everybody. It's a very demanding game. The shelf life of a running back is not very long sometimes. When you see a guy come back from what Nick Chubb came back from, his history and his résumé, you don't have to talk about it. It's there on paper for you. You can see it, and he overcame a knee injury. I have no questions on the guy. Just give him the ball."​

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