Bengals officially sign all of their 2018 draft picks

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 7: Sam Hubbard /

The Cincinnati Bengals officially signed their last 2018 draft pick on Thursday. Third-round pick Sam Hubbard signed his four-year rookie deal.

The Cincinnati Bengals have officially signed all of their eleven 2018 draft picks as of Thursday afternoon. Third-round pick defensive end Sam Hubbard agreed to his four-year rookie deal with the team. Third-round pick linebacker Malik Jefferson who came one pick after Hubbard also agreed to his rookie deal.

Both young third-round picks have impressed this offseason and should see some playing time in 2018. Sam Hubbard grew up in Cincinnati and recorded 17 sacks during his three seasons at Ohio State. Head coach Marvin Lewis recently expressed that Hubbard will be involved in the defensive line rotation immediately.

“He has been way ahead of the curve,” Lewis said. “We’re just excited about that. He’s going to really complement and add to our football team right away. I’m just excited because he’s probably out here a little mature beyond his years right now.”

Malik Jefferson should also see some starting time at the beginning of the season with veteran linebacker Vontaze Burfict dealing with a four-game suspension. Jefferson has excellent speed and reaction coming out of Texas. He also possesses an ability that has troubled Cincinnati linebackers in recent seasons which is pass coverage. Given the question marks at linebacker for the Bengals defense, Jefferson has the opportunity to impress and earn a significant role in the defense even once Burfict returns.

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Both rookies will be learning the new defense under defensive coordinator Teryl Austin. Cincinnati is emphasizing forcing turnovers in 2018 after their poor showing in 2017. Being aggressive up front and getting after the quarterback is the first part of the scheme. Hubbard should add to an already broad line of talent at the defensive end position so we will see how much playing time he earns.