The Cincinnati Bengals added another pass rusher to their defensive line with third-round pick defensive end Sam Hubbard out of Ohio State.
The Cincinnati Bengals drafted defensive end Sam Hubbard out of Ohio State with their first third-round pick of the 2018 NFL Draft Friday night. Hubbard will add to the talented defensive line of the Bengals bringing more pass rush and attack. With new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and the additions the team has made this offseason, we could see a very aggressive and blitz-happy defense in 2018.
Projected to go in the first two rounds of the draft, Hubbard fell to the Bengals in the third round at 77 making him look like an absolute steal. Part of a strong defensive line unit at Ohio State, Hubbard looks to be a solid defensive end at the next level. Using his size and length to get around tackles, we could see some fun packages with him in the Bengals defense.
Hubbard saw his first full season of starts when former Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa left for the NFL draft being selected by the Los Angeles Chargers, back then San Diego Chargers. During his first full season as a starter, Hubbard hauled in 46 tackles (8.5 for a loss), and 3.5 sacks. Last season he collected 42 tackles (13.5 for a loss), 7 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. Let’s take a look at what I saw in the film.
One of the first things you will notice when watching Hubbard is his hand usage and bend around the edge. He will rarely will on pure speed but has the ability to fight off punches from offensive linemen and position himself to bend around the tackle to get to the backfield. During his combine performance, Hubbard showed off this skill in the three-cone drill with a 6.84 time. The Cincinnati native uses his length as well (33 ⅛” arms) to get off blockers.
The other trait you will notice is his high motor. Hubbard plays through the whistle every play and is consistently fighting to get to the ball carrier or the quarterback. Even when the play goes in the opposite direction, you will still see him positioning himself to make a play. Hubbard is a relentless defensive end that will force himself into the backfield.
Already possessing great hands and technique will make him a great draft pick for the Bengals and should see some significant starting time right off the bat. Depending on what they decide to do with defensive end Michael Johnson, Hubbard could be his replacement as Johnson is in the final year of his contract.
Unlike linebacker Carl Lawson, who played defensive end in college and his rookie season with the Bengals, Hubbard is also talented attacking the run game. Keeping his head up, Hubbard has great awareness of where the ball is and gets off blockers to attack the runner in the backfield. He will be an all-around defensive end for the Bengals being able to attack both the run and pass. Cincinnati has struggled to stop the run recently and Hubbard will be another player to help stop the bleeding.
Considering Hubbard was a first or second round projection, the Bengals seem to have gotten a great value pick. Not only was he the best player available, he was a significant need for Cincinnati and will add tremendous depth to the already stacked defensive line. Expect to see Hubbard involved in some blitz packages and even early downs to help stop the run game.