One play shows the talent. The other the desire.
North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb flies through the air to sack Louisville quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson before he can leave the pocket and scramble.
Wolfpack defensive line coach Kevin Patrick was looking at a giant picture of the play as he talked to The Chronicle-Telegram by phone last week from his office and texted the proof. Chubb, in his all-black uniform, is nearly parallel to the ground and about to wrap up Jackson.
“All I know, he’s the best defensive football player in the draft this year. Period, point-blank,” Patrick said. “He might be the best player in the draft overall.”
The second snapshot starts with a stunt from right to left on the line. Chubb throws off the right guard from Florida State, then chases the scrambling quarterback 15 yards downfield, arrives as he’s going to the ground and punches the ball out for a fumble.
“The effort was phenomenal,” Patrick said. “He wants it more than anybody.”
Chubb is a favorite to be the Browns’ choice with the No. 4 pick of the draft Thursday night if he gets past the Giants at No. 2.
He plays a premium position and would ideally team with right end Myles Garrett, last year’s No. 1 overall pick, to terrorize quarterbacks for years to come.
“I could learn some stuff from him and he could learn from me,” Chubb, who can play right or left end, said at the scouting combine. “If the Browns decided to take me, it would be very special.”
Coach Hue Jackson said he thinks about the possibilities of such a pairing.
“I do at nighttime when I’m by myself,” he said at the owners meetings.
Chubb (6-foot-4, 269 pounds) doesn’t have the freak athleticism of Garrett (6-4, 272), but he’s close enough that some analysts consider him a better prospect.
He showed his movement skills when asked to drop in coverage in games, then ran a 4.65-second 40-yard dash and had a 36-inch vertical jump at the combine to support his gameday production. In his final three years at North Carolina State he totaled 200 tackles, 60 tackles for loss, 26 sacks and nine forced fumbles. As a senior, he had 26 tackles for loss and 10 sacks.
“People may be more talented, but no one’s going to want it more than Chubb,” Patrick said. “He didn’t just turn it on in the game. You can turn on the practice film and see him running 70 yards downfield to catch (the running back). He practices beating other defenders to the ball.”
Patrick said Chubb’s the best he’s ever coached, and that includes Jason Pierre-Paul, a two-time Pro Bowler for the Giants. The separator is the ability to play the run. Chubb has the physical strength at the point of attack and the mental strength to withstand the punishment and tedium of taking on multiple blockers — a rarity among gifted pass rushers.
“He loves playing the run. He’s probably as good as anyone at that,” Patrick said. “He loves putting his hand in the dirt, mano a mano football.
“He loves beating you down, so when it is time to rush the quarterback, not only are you physically beat up, your ego is beat up, too.”
Chubb understands what generates the buzz at his position.
“In this game it’s about getting after the quarterback,” he said. “A lot of people, that’s their main focus. I can do both. If you want to talk about the pass rush, that’s perfectly fine with me.”
Patrick said his best move is the long arm, in which he knocks the blocker off-balance with a jab to the chest. He has an impressive dip-and-rip move in which he gets under the offensive lineman then throws him off, can get around the edge with speed and is continuing to work on secondary moves.
“I try to take Khalil Mack and Von Miller and put them into one person,” Chubb said, referring to the All-Pros. “Khalil Mack’s a more powerful guy, probably the best long arm in the game right now. Von Miller’s the speed/finesse guy. Just try to put both those together, have some power moves, have some speed moves that I go to.”
Chubb’s skills aren’t limited to size, strength and speed. Patrick said he’s a great learner and listener and has excellent vision.
“He sees things before the snap,” Chubb said. “The natural eye he has is unique. He sees that foot (of the offensive lineman) being slightly out of place, that arm being slightly out of place. That blood vessel crunched.
“He’s in the matrix at all times. Everything is slowed down to him, he sees the minute details. He studies opponents as good as anything. He’s looking for a chink in the armor for him to take advantage of.”
Chubb apologized after spitting on Florida State’s logo at midfield after an upset victory over the ranked Seminoles. Patrick raved about his sense of humor, humility and the way he treats people but noted his emotions run hot.
“He has an unbelievable temper. He knows how to direct it. You’re not a D-lineman without a little nasty streak in you,” Patrick said. “He’s a great locker room guy. He’s firm and he’s not afraid to stand up for what’s right, whether it be in the locker room, team or in life.
“He’s Chubb, he’s not going to change. He’s Chubb, he’s the man.”
If the Browns land him, Patrick said they won’t be disappointed.
“All the hype going on, I still don’t think teams realize how complete a player they’re going to get,” he said.
Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Like him on Facebook and follow him @scottpetrak on Twitter.