BEREA: Nick Chubb, former Georgia Bulldogs running back and a second-round draft choice (No. 35 overall) of the Browns, has taken a long road back to claim a shot at an NFL career.

After suffering a knee dislocation, tearing three ligaments in the process, Chubb’s first injury playing football, during a game against Tennessee on Oct. 10, 2015, the Georgia native embarked on a significant rehab regimen in order to return.

“I had never been injured so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Just talking to [Georgia Director of Sports Medicine] Ron Courson, he kind of told me that I would be able to get back to where I was at,” Chubb said Saturday during a conference call. “So I trusted his word and he got me back to where I was.”

That’s not to say that the process was easy. In fact, the opposite proved true.

“Definitely a lot went into it, definitely a lot of tough times. This was hard,” Chubb said. “Just the rehab was the toughest thing that I have been through just from a standpoint of trying to get my knee back to where it was at, trying to bend it and trying to walk again, having to actually run and cut up again.”

He returned the following season in less than a calendar year, but admitted that he didn’t quite feel right, despite rushing for 1,130 yards and averaging five yards per carry.

“I just did not feel like myself. I was able to move around a little bit and just run, but I just felt like it was not right, even though I was back,” he said.

Courson kept pushing him and motivating him to the point where Chubb made NFL scouts take notice during last year’s college football season.

The proof of his success came in his numbers from his final season with the Bulldogs, one in which they remained in the chase for a national championship, beating fellow Browns draft pick Baker Mayfield’s Oklahoma Sooners in the College Football Playoff semifinals.

Chubb rushed for 1,345 yards on 223 attempts, averaging 6 yards per carry, and scored 15 touchdowns. That kind of production in offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s offense would be nice for the Browns, but there will be competition.

What will be interesting to see is how the Browns are able to satisfy three running backs. They signed Carlos Hyde during the offseason. Duke Johnson remains, and now they add Chubb.

“It’ll work itself out. I know now when you look at us from an offensive standpoint, you wonder where all these balls are going to go,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “A year ago, that wasn’t a problem. I think that’s a good problem to have. ... All it does is raise the level in the room and raise the level on the field. Guys are going to have to compete to earn the right to get the ball in their hands.”

Jackson already sees the potential in Chubb.

“I see an AFC North back is what I see,” Jackson said. “I see a guy that’s very tough. He can create runs. He had a really good career at Georgia, the No. 2 rusher in all the SEC. We’re going to run the football, and if you plan on running, you have to have good backs. [Along] with Carlos and Duke, we feel we have guys that can do that.”

Different beat

With more and more athletes pursuing careers that complement their sports careers, defensive end Chad Thomas, the Browns’ third-round draft choice (No. 67 overall), is less of an anomaly in today’s NFL.

Thomas helped lead the resurgence of the University of Miami football program last year while creating beats and producing hit records in the world of hip-hop, music that’s being increasingly more identified with athletics.

“I have been doing music since probably the age of 3 and probably before that, but really understanding it then and I just kept it going,” Thomas said during his post-selection conference call. “As I got older, I got away [from it] because I was doing football and could not do both.”

Crazy might be an apropos descriptor. Known by the moniker Major Nine, Thomas has hooked up with hip-hop luminary Rick Ross, a Miami-based multiplatinum-selling rapper and record label founder, as a producer on the song Apple of My Eye, the first track on Ross’ Rather You Than Me album from last year.

For the 6-foot-5, 281-pound defensive end, it’s part of a skillset that opens myriad opportunities. He maintains that music is a hobby.

“It is another gift from God. I just took it to the next level,” he said. “Then with football, it was never a distraction. The hobby it is and the hobby is over. You can’t spend [time on] football 24/7. On my off night, I’m doing this, and I guess it blew up there.”

Questions arose during the draft process about whether he has more interest in playing football or making music. For Thomas, it’s not an either-or proposition.

“Being good at two things, I feel like you can be good at two things. Some people feel like it is a bad thing, but I don’t really listen to what other people say,” he said.

Music is something he uses to elevate his game.

“I think my music is another way for me to learn about when I’m on the field just running in my head,” he said. “I feel a rhythm and my beat, and I move, and I am going fast. That’s just me. Anything I have been with in life, it has to have music in it. That is why I like hitting people.”

Power man

Genard Avery will bring a little power to the Browns linebacker corps.

The 6-foot-4, 248-pound Avery, taken in the fifth round with the 150th overall selection, won a high school state powerlifting championship in his home state of Mississippi. It was a sport that drew his interest after a cousin, also a state champion, succeeded in it. That brought out Avery’s competitive nature.

“I wanted to beat all of his numbers and whatnot. I started in ninth grade,” Avery said during a conference call Saturday. “By my junior/senior season, I ended up breaking records and my own records my senior year. It was great. I ended up doing stuff outside of football to make me better in football.”

Jackson said Avery will work at middle linebacker but has the versatility to play inside or out.

“Obviously, he is going to be a real core special teams guy,” Jackson said. “There are a lot of different things he can do. This guy, he knows how to go sack the quarterback and make plays on the ball so we are excited about him.”

Filling the O-line

The drafting of Austin Corbett, a 6-foot-4, 305-pound guard out of Nevada with the first pick of the second round (No. 33 overall), could be the start of some intrigue on the offensive line.

With the retirement of bedrock left tackle Joe Thomas, the position’s future isn’t guaranteed. It’s assumed Shon Coleman, who played there in college, will get a shot at the job. Corbett’s versatility opens other possibilities.

“He can play tackle. He can play guard. We are going to give him a chance to do both and see where he fits. He is a really good football player,” Jackson said. “If we have to do some shuffling along the line, when it is all said and done, we are going to put our best five guys out there.”

In general, Jackson said he’d like to have five guys on the offensive line who can play every position. He also opened the door to fifth-year lineman Joel Bitonio, another product of Nevada, moving to left tackle.

Bitonio, 6-foot-4, 315 pounds, played the position in college.

“You may see anything,” Jackson said. “When it is all said and done, my job is to make sure that we have the best group of guys out there. If it means that, then we will do that, too.”

Buckeyes drafted

Denzel Ward, cornerback (first round, No. 4 overall, Browns); center Billy Price (first round, No. 21 overall, Cincinnati Bengals); defensive end Tyquan Lewis (second round, No. 64 overall, Indianapolis Colts); linebacker Jerome Baker (third round, No. 73 overall, Miami Dolphins); defensive end Sam Hubbard (third round, No. 77 overall, Bengals); defensive end Jalyn Holmes (fourth round, No. 102 overall, Minnesota Vikings) and offensive tackle Jamarco Jones (fifth round, No. 168 overall, Seattle Sea­hawks).

George M. Thomas can be reached at gmthomas@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the Browns blog at www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GeorgeThomasABJ.