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PFF sees Bengals DE Sam Hubbard as a player who wins with technique

We take a look at what analytics service PFF had to say about the Bengals’ third round defensive end draft selection.

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Bengals rookies and veterans will join together for the first time today for the start of OTAs. It’s an exciting point of the offseason, though not as exciting as training camp will be when that begins late in July.

There’s still a few months before we can really analyze the rookies in stripes, so in the meantime, we’re turning to Pro Football Focus to see how they evaluated the newest Bengals prior to the draft. Whether you agree with PFF’s analysis or not, it can be interesting to take a look at their metrics and thoughts. The following information is from PFF’s 2018 Draft Guide and today we’re taking a look at third round pick and former Ohio State defensive end Sam Hubbard.

Hubbard was more effective in the eyes of PFF on the right side of the defensive line where he had 136 pass rushing snaps for a PRP of 14. On the left side he took 153 pass rushing snaps for a PRP of 12.1. Overall, he played 323 passing snaps with a pass rushing percentage of 91.3. He recorded 10 sacks, 6 hits, 32 hurries, 48 total pressures and a 13.1 PRP.

Pass-Rushing Productivity (RPR) is a PFF signature stat described by the service as follows:

The single most referenced Signature Stat for the defensive side of the ball is our ‘Pass-rushing productivity’ that calculates a score to reflect the frequency of pressure generated by a defender. All sacks, hits, and hurries are added up and (with sacks weighted heavier and some multipliers in place to give us a workable PRP score) they’re broken down on a per-pass-rushing-snap basis.

As for his run-stopping ability, PFF charted Hubbard with 189 run play snaps in 2017, during which he made 24 tackles, 4 assists, had 2 missed tackles, 18 stops and a stop percentage of 9.5%.

That stop percentage ranked seventh best among edge rushers in the draft, following Jordan Sherit (now retired from football), Shareef White, Bradley Chubb (Broncos first round pick), Dorance Armstrong Jr. (Cowboys fourth round pick), James Hearns (Cowboys undrafted signing) and Austin Paulhus.

Hubbard was ranked as PFF’s 11th best edge defender in the draft and the 84th overall prospect on their big board. The Bengals selected him with the 77th pick in the third round, not too far ahead of where the analytics service had him ranked.

Overall in three years of college, Hubbard played 1,357 snaps during which he recorded 21 sacks, 23 quarterback hits, 66 hurries and 75 stops. He’s not the most athletic player, which is something PFF found fault with when evaluating him.

PFF notes and analysis on Hubbard

- Ideal build for the position at 6-6, 265 pounds. Ability to play a number of different alignments at that size.

- Nothing special athletically. Noticeably a step slower out of stance than line mates at Ohio State.

- Never done as a pass-rusher. Won’t get himself in bad positions and is just as likely to win with his second/third move as his first.

- Two-hand swipe is his go to move and will consistently fight tackles up high.

- Played only 528 snaps in 14 games and still had some slow reps. Never dominated a game from start to finish.

- Not overly powerful. Has to win with technique rather than physically imposing his will on offensive tackles.

- Even when he wins, can struggle to close on quarterback and was often times taken off balance by slight nudges.

Overall, Hubbard had a highly consistent career at OSU with 2016 being his best season and his run defense grades being slightly higher than his pass rushing grades. The analytic service believes he needs to improve in coverage, and he could up his game by spending some extra time in the weight room.

Hubbard likely won’t be rushed onto the field by the Bengals, as the team will give him time to get up to NFL speed and strength. But, he should be a contributor in his rookie year and it’ll be interesting to see how new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin works him into the gameplan.