The Bengals have made it a priority to address the defensive end position the last two years, drafting two in the 2017 draft and another one in the 2018 draft.
What is also weird is the fact that like their first-round pick, Sam Hubbard played for Ohio State, which despite the amount of talent coming out is a place that has been largely ignored by the Bengals.
The Bengals are reinventing their defensive end room no longer exclusively going with the 6’7”+ freaks instead just opting for plan old good players. It seems to be working too after Carl Lawson had a great performance as a rookie and Jordan Willis also showed some promise.
Let’s hope that Hubbard can have a decent impact as a rookie too, even with more competition for snaps.
1. Hubbard’s original love was lacrosse and he even committed to Notre Dame to play before switching to football.
When Hubbard first started high school, he thought his future lied in lacrosse. He didn’t have a great body for football and his brother had already gone on to play lacrosse in college.
However, as he grew to a 6’5” frame with a workers attitude to match, he ended up switching to playing football full time, not even playing lacrosse his senior year of high school.
Even though he committed to Notre Dame’s lacrosse team, he switched to playing football at Ohio State, and it is easy to assume his bank account is thanking him for the decision after being a third-round draft pick.
2. Hubbard played safety in high school and packed on a lot of weight to switch to DE.
If you were curious what Hubbard did during lacrosse season in his senior year, this is your answer: Hubbard was asked to switch from a lean 6’5” safety to a LB by Ohio State and had to pack on a lot of weight for that transition.
Eventually, Ohio State realized his more natural position was actually defensive end and he had to pack on even more weight before he played defensive end his redshirt freshman season. He said one of his early tricks is he would eat two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every night before bed.
Since then, he has put a focus on becoming more lean at 270 pounds to get some of his athleticism back that was lost with the weight gain. It certainly showed in his fantastic 3-cone time at the combine.
3. Hubbard has only played football in Ohio, starting at Moeller High School, going to OSU and now with the Bengals.
A lot of football players by the time they are drafted will be playing football in their third state across high school, college and the NFL. Hubbard however, hasn’t had to do nearly as much moving after starting high school by Cincinnati then going to Ohio State before ending up with his hometown Cincinnati Bengals. It would not be a surprise to see a lot of the Hubbard’s at Paul Brown Stadium throughout his career.
4. Hubbard grew up a Bengals fan and now will be playing for his hometown team!
Speaking of seeing a lot Hubbard’s family at Paul Brown Stadium, Hubbard grew up a Bengals fan, which makes sense with him growing up in Cincinnati. It is cool for both the fans of the team and Hubbard himself that he gets to play for a team that he was fan of when he was growing up. That should definitely help quickly make him a fan favorite, especially if he backs it up with his play on the field.
5. Hubbard won a state championship in high school, a national championship in college and now wants to win the Super Bowl with the Bengals!
Nothing would endear Hubbard to the fans faster than if he had a hand in making this happen. Considering that the Bengals have been unable to win a playoff game in recent years, if they can finally get one of the elusive Super Bowls, then every single member of the team that does it will become a fan favorite, especially a player that declared it his mission to bring a Super Bowl to Cincinnati before his career even began.
Having a good pass rush is an integral part of a Super Bowl team, so even in a limited role, Hubbard could be a useful player early on in his career.