Bengals News

Projecting cost of Bengals rookie class

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STATE COLLEGE, PA - OCTOBER 25: Billy Price #54 of the Ohio State Buckeyes blocks during the game against the Penn State Nittany Lions on October 25, 2014 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
STATE COLLEGE, PA - OCTOBER 25: Billy Price #54 of the Ohio State Buckeyes blocks during the game against the Penn State Nittany Lions on October 25, 2014 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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Sam Hubbard 77th overall

2018 CAP Hit: $714,700

Total contract value through 2021: $3.8 million

The Bengals could not afford to pass up on Ohio State defensive end Sam Hubbard when he fell to them in the third round. Hubbard was projected to be a second-round talent and will be a disruptive force to add to the rotation of linemen on the defense. Cincinnati was already built at starting positions with guys like Carlos Dunlap, Jordan Willis, Michael Johnson, and even Carl Lawson despite his more responsibilities at linebacker coming in 2018.

Not comparing Hubbard to Dunlap, but Dunlap is on the last year of his team-friendly deal paying him little for his consistent disruption along the offensive line. Adding Hubbard to the mix will allow the Bengals to try and recreate what the Philadelphia Eagles did last season with their rotating rushers along the defensive line to keep fresh. This method proved well considering a strip sack at the end of the game won them the Super Bowl.

Unlike Lawson who struggled against the run game, Hubbard is excellent at setting the edge. He will be a player that can be used in either stopping the run or taking down the quarterback. Hubbard also brings insurance to the Bengals with Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap in contract years. Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin will have at least one season with significant depth at the edge rusher position, and he looks to be aggressive with it.

Malik Jefferson 78th overall

2018 CAP Hit: $713,552

Total contract through 2021: $3.58 million

Jefferson continues to be one of the most intriguing picks by the Bengals in the 2018 Draft. We have discussed him tremendously since the draft weekend with film reviews, how he will match up across from veteran Vontaze Burfict, and even getting a Texas Insider’s look at what he saw of Jefferson in college.

With extraordinary speed and athleticism, Jefferson brings significant potential to the Bengals linebacker core. Given his lack of instincts, Austin will have to utilize Jefferson to his potential of being a pursuit and coverage player to maximize his potential in the NFL. Cincinnati has struggled with linebackers dropping into coverage for a few years now so grabbing Jefferson should bring some relief to fans.

Cincinnati also brought in Bills inside linebacker Preston Brown. He will likely command the middle while Jefferson plays outside and in nickel sets. Jefferson will be fighting for playing time with guys like Nick Vigil but considering his unique skill sets, expect him to play a unique role in the defense. Given his versatility to drop into coverage and attack the run game, Cincinnati is spending very little on a player that could make some big plays in 2018. Top outside linebackers in the NFL are making north of $10 million this season.

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