2018 NFL Draft Player Preview: Sam Hubbard

  • Sam Hubbard, 6-5/270

  • Defensive End

  • Ohio State

  • Sam Hubbard Scouting Report
    By Charlie Campbell

  • Quick edge rusher
  • Has upper body strength
  • Quickness to run around the corner
  • Has active hands
  • Uses hands and feet at the same time
  • Capable of beating tackles with speed or strength
  • Sturdy end
  • Good size
  • Athletic ability
  • Movement skills

  • Weaknesses:
  • Undersized
  • Underachiever
  • Didn’t produce up to his skill set
  • Not super explosive
  • Solid but unspectacular in all phases

  • Summary: Hubbard redshirted for a year before working his way onto the field in 2015. He flashed his potential with 6.5 sacks that season to go along with 28 tackles and an interception. In 2016, Hubbard collected 46 tackles with eight for a loss, 3.5 sacks and two passes batted. He then gave some consideration toward entering the 2017 NFL Draft, but wisely decided to return for his senior year.

    In 2017, Hubbard collected 43 tackles with 13.5 tackles for a loss and seven sacks. He had good moments, but still didn’t always play up to his great skill set and wasn’t consistent enough. Hubbard has an excellent combination of size, speed, and good technique, but he never produced up to it in college. Sources have said that they liked Hubbard’s skill set as he is big with impressive movement skills.

    In the pass rush, Hubbard can get after the quarterback. He has upper body strength to fight through blockers and some quickness around the corner. Hubbard possesses active hands and uses them at the same time as his feet. He is capable of beating tackles with speed or strength. Hubbard is a sturdy end, but he isn’t super explosive or a blinding speed rusher off the edge.

    Hubbard is generally reliable to hold his gap in the ground game. He fights off blocks and gets in on tackles. Hubbard shows some recognition skills and instincts to stay home on misdirection plays. Sometimes it takes him biting on a fake before he maintains better discipline for the rest of the game.

    Hubbard definitely has the body to be a base end in the NFL. He would probably fit best as an end in a 4-3 defense rather than as a stand-up outside linebacker in a 3-4. He could play outside linebacker in a 3-4, but that isn’t his best fit.

    In speaking with multiple team sources, they say that Hubbard is on the bubble of the first round. He could go late on Thursday night and might slip to the second round, but shouldn’t last long if he does.

    Player Comparison: Derrick Morgan. Morgan (6-4, 261) and Hubbard are similar in their sizes and skill sets. Morgan has been a solid, sturdy edge defender for the Titans since being a first-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft – 16th overall. Generally, Morgan has around six sacks per year while contributing in the ground game as well as the pass rush. Morgan has never set the league on fire, but he has been a steady player. In the NFL, I think Hubbard will have a similar career and impact for his pro defense.

    NFL Matches: Indianapolis, San Francisco, Oakland, Miami, Green Bay, Seattle, Detroit, Carolina, Tennessee, New Orleans and New England

    There are a lot of teams that could target Hubbard late in the first round or early in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Given that this is a weak edge-rushing class and that edge rusher is a premium position for the NFL, plenty of teams should be hoping to land Hubbard and his ability to put heat on the quarterback.

    In the first round, Seattle could be a possibility for Hubbard. Michael Bennett was traded away, and Cliff Avril could be nearing the end of his time with the Seahawks. Hubbard could make sense for Seattle as a long-term replacement.

    The Lions need an edge pass-rusher to go across from Ziggy Ansah. Hubbard would be a fit for them. Carolina can’t count on Julius Peppers playing much longer, and Hubbard would make sense as an immediate rotational pass-rusher. The Panthers have shown interest in Hubbard.

    The Titans also could use a young edge rusher. Their pass rush needs to be improved, and Hubbard could fit as an outside linebacker for Mike Vrabel. The Saints could use an end upgrade across from Cam Jordan.

    New England also needs more young talent at defensive end and outside linebacker. The lack of edge rush really hurt the Patriots in the Super Bowl. They could target him with one of their first-round picks or their high second-round pick.

    In the second round, there are a lot of options for Hubbard. The Colts have three second-round picks and need more edge-rushing talent. Hubbard could be a fit in their 3-4 defense.

    San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch has stated the team needs more edge-rushing talent. Hubbard could interest Lynch to replace Elvis Dumervil and finish off their four-man line going with Thomas, DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead.

    Staying in the Bay area, the Raiders badly need more front seven talent. Hubbard could be a good fit for Oakland as an edge rusher across from Khalil Mack.

    The Dolphins could consider Hubbard in the second round as they could use an end to go across from Charles Harris. Green Bay also could use more edge talent, and Hubbard could give the Packers some speed off the edge. Hubbard could be a fit if they move down in the first round, or if they move up in the second round.


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