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Matt Rhule’s wife pushed for Panthers to draft Chuba Hubbard

The Panthers made Jaycee Horn the first defensive player taken in the 2021 NFL Draft, but Mike Florio wonders whether Patrick Surtain II or someone else should've been the pick instead.

Running back Chuba Hubbard was picked by the Panthers in the fourth round of the draft on Saturday and he had an influential voice in his corner before the pick was made.

In a video released by the Panthers, Panthers head coach Matt Rhule is shown on the phone with Hubbard after the selection. Rhule says his wife Julie texted him 10 minutes before the pick to say “please take Chuba Hubbard” and Panthers owner David Tepper then gets on the phone with Hubbard to confirm the existence of the text.

Rhule told reporters that his wife wasn’t the only one pushing for the pick, but her pitch didn’t hurt.

“Julie, being a coach’s wife, she’s sat through a lot of games and seen a lot of people,” Rhule said, via David Newton of “It’s funny, I had one former executive who texted me and said, ‘It’s pretty simple. When you play against guys and you hate playing against them, they’re people someday you want to put on your team.’”

The coach got a first-hand look at what Hubbard could do when the back ran for 171 yards and two touchdowns against Rhule’s Baylor team in 2019. Now he’ll have him on hand as a complement to what the Panthers hope will be a fully healthy Christian McCaffrey in 2021.