The Cincinnati Bengals continue their late top 30 visits with defensive end Sam Hubbard out of Ohio State.
There are a lot of questions regarding the defensive end spot across from Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap. There’s also the question of whether the team will be able to ink a long-term deal with Dunlap as his contract expires after the 2018 season. Could the Bengals be looking to the future by bringing in another defensive end in this year’s draft?
Ohio State defensive end Sam Hubbard visited with the Bengals on Friday and is projected to be a day two selection. Drafting a guy like Hubbard would also make defensive end Michael Johnson a likely cap casualty following the draft. Last year the Bengals selected linebacker Carl Lawson, who played defensive end in college, and he was a pass rushing star grabbing 8.5 sacks in his limited role. The team also drafted defensive end Jordan Willis who was thought to be a developmental project.
Both of those players will likely see their roles increased during the 2018 season as Lawson is expanding into linebacker roles and Willis will likely take more snaps at defensive end rotation. Bringing in another defensive end would be more of a future bet and spend his 2018 developing in case of the loss of Dunlap.
The Cincinnati native stands at 6’5″ and 265 pounds which could give him a leap for defensive coordinators wanting to find someone to plug in rushing off the edge. He doesn’t have the athleticism that jumps off the film but he could still be a good grab. Many analysts project him as a strong prospect in blitz heavy teams which could be the case for Cincinnati in 2018 under new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin.
Whether or not Hubbard fits the Bengals needs, especially in the first or second round, is a big question mark. Cincinnati needs all the offensive line help they can get during the draft and the defensive tackle position seems more of a need than defensive end. Drafting Hubbard would almost guarantee the team playing it safe in case they cannot reach a deal with Dunlap.