In the first of back-to-back selections in the middle of the third round, the Bengals have selected their second Buckeye of the draft in defensive end Sam Hubbard. With former third-round pick Michael Johnson announcing the pick, Hubbard is the fourth defensive end drafted in the third round by the Bengals since Johnson was taken 70th overall in 2009. Day 2 is where the Bengals load up on pass rushers, and Hubbard is their newest one.
What Hubbard brings to the Bengals
Hand usage and bend: The two attributes Hubbard has as a pass rusher are precise and refined hands and the ability to rotate his hips and bend at the top of the arc. He can create space with his hands by swiping away punches and give himself enough room at the top of his rush to bend around the edge. His 6.84 3-cone time only confirms this ability.
Consistent motor: One of the reasons why the Bengals coveted Jordan Willis last year was his relentlessness to get to the ball, Hubbard plays very similar and will not give up on plays if he’s the backside edge. He’s already ready to make a stop and even for a defensive lineman, you won’t see him take plays off.
Understanding the pick
Increased depth: After losing Chris Smith to the Browns in free agency, the Bengals we’re in need of another defensive lineman to get back to nine rosterable players. Hubbard seemingly rounds out the position group and provides solid depth at a position of strength.
Historical precedent: The Bengals aforementioned tendency to invest in pass rushers in the third round is well known, and Hubbard’s production and talent fits this spot in the draft.
The Michael Johnson factor: The Bengals have a couple options with Johnson. They can release him to save on cap space that they may want to roll over to next year, or they can find a new role for him to better utilize his skillset. If Johnson were to be the edge that moves inside in sub-packages, the role Smith played last year, then Hubbard would be a part of the rotation to supplement the snaps Johnson would leave behind on the edge. If Johnson is released, Hubbard would see even more playing time in year 1.
Local favorite: Hubbard was born and raised as a Bengals fan in Cincinnati. He went to Moeller High School, a well known football program in the state and obviously played college ball up I-71 at Ohio State. Hubbard knows the area and will fit right at home.
The Bengals got a solid pass rusher who’s ready to go from day 1 to round out their rotation at defensive end in Hubbard. He’s not a future pro bowler like Carl Lawson can become, but he’ll suffice for what they needed.