The journey from Notre Dame lacrosse commit to potential first-round NFL Draft pick has been an unusually winding one for Sam Hubbard . After playing safety at Archbishop Moeller High School, Hubbard first transitioned to linebacker and eventually to defensive end as he continued to add size during his red-shirt season in Columbus, and was never a full-time starter for the Buckeyes.
He now leaves Ohio State having been selected as a second-team All-Big Ten member despite the fact that he only started eight games in 2017 season. That fact not withstanding, Hubbard racked up 42 tackles during his redshirt-junior campaign, including 13.5 for loss (7 sacks). During his final year in the scarlet and gray, he also forced a pair of fumbles. Hubbard leaves OSU ranking 15th in sacks (17) and tackles-for-loss yardage (154).
While the 6’5, 265-pound. Hubbard still has some bulking up to do to be ready for the next level, his high motor will be very valuable for an NFL defense. He might not have the desired athleticism that some teams will be looking for from an edge rusher, but he is ready to play right away for teams that are looking for someone able to both blitz and keep contain on the outside. He is strong at the point of attack, and will never give up on a play until the whistle is blown.
A former Academic All-American— while earning a degree in Economics—, Hubbard should have no problem being able to pick up the increasingly complicated NFL defensive schemes. Hubbard could be a late first-round draft pick, if he shows well at the combine, at pro day, and thereafter.
STRENGTHS: Plays with consistent pad level and good bend at point of attack. Attacks with square pads and a wide, balanced base. Sinks hips and braces up with arm extension when setting the edge. Possesses good football intelligence and is very aware. Quick to spot play-action. Has stick-and-move hands to punch and peek past the blocker to find the football. Motor takes him to plays that others will quit on. Always finds himself in tackle-ready position and usually finishes. Expert level hand fighter as pass rusher. Will throw three or four straight slaps and chops to prevent tackle from getting his punch locked in. Shows tackles a strong charge before unleashing an effective spin counter back inside.
WEAKNESSES: More worker bee than twitchy athlete. Burst to the ball is just average. Doesn’t get early wins at the point of attack. Pursuit speed is just average and he’ll come up just short of the tackle at times. Can be a little tight when trying to corner and flatten as a pass rusher. Can be run up and past the quarterback. Arc-runner rather than move-maker as a rusher. Below average conversion of speed-to-power.
- Height: 6-5 3/8”
- Weight: 270 lbs
- Hand size: 10”
- Arm length: 33 1/8”
- Wingspan: 78 2/8”
Bench press: DNP
40-yard dash: DNP
Vertical jump: 35.0”
Broad jump: 116.0”
20-yard shuttle: 4.32 sec
60-yard shuttle: 11.61 sec*
3-cone drill: 6. 84 sec*
.@OhioStateFB DE Sam Hubbard was pretty efficient on the club-rip and club-swim drills. Never 'rounds' the pads, but rather squares his feet before dipping hips. I'd expect nothing less from a guy coached by Larry Johnson Sr.#NFLCombine— Dion Caputi (@nfldraftupdate) March 4, 2018
Interview Notables and Quotables
Hubbard spoke to the media on Saturday and talked about playing behind players like Joey Bosa and Adolphus Washington, and crediting his Ohio State coaches for getting him prepared to be successful at the next level. He moved around the line throughout his career with the Buckeyes, and was asked about NFL teams’ interest in him playing different position.
A lot of teams have different opinions on where I should play. Obviously, I’ll play anywhere and do any job I’m asked. I can play a 4-3 base end, a 3-4 outside backer, a 3-4 5-technique, 4 technique. I can really do it all. I think that’s another thing I provide value is multiple positions.
The Buckeye also plans to compete at both the defensive line and linebacker drills while at the NFL Combine, and really wants to use this time in front of NFL scouts to show that he is ready to make the jump to the league. One of the biggest criticisms circulating this draft season is whether Hubbard’s athleticism is NFL-caliber.
That’s something I want to prove (wrong). I want to do D-line drills, linebacker drills, show them how fluid I am and do everything I can to disprove that.
Hubbard has some tape that show help him prove his athleticism thanks to coach Greg Schiano at Ohio State, who allowed the prospect a chance to show his versatility during the 2017 season.
This last year, coach Schiano took over the defense and he’s got a lot of tricks up his sleeves. He wanted to do a lot of things to switch up the looks. He used me and my versatility to be able to stand up, drop, rush from different spots. He wanted to give different looks and surprise offenses and I was able to be the moving piece to do that. It also showcased to teams what I can do at the next level.
Hubbard’s draft stock is a bit inconsistent, with some analysts concerned about his athleticism, and others confident in his ability to jump in right away his rookie season. Early mocks had him as a first round pick, be he’s since fallen a bit. I’d predict he’ll hear his name on the second or third day of the draft, but shouldn’t get past the fourth round.
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