NFL Draft

2018 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Ohio State OLB Sam Hubbard

From now until the 2018 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.

#6 Sam Hubbard/EDGE/Ohio State  6’5″ 265 Lbs

The Good

-Relentless motor that constantly runs hot, allowing him to reach plays others won’t
-Reads keys very well and has above-average awareness
-Comfortable rushing the passer from either side, as well as with a hand in the dirt, or standing up
-Good, strong hands to keep blockers off of him in the run game
-Great hand fighter as a pass rusher

The Bad

-Limited experience dropping into coverage, and looks uncomfortable doing it
-Inconsistent at setting the edge against the run
-Struggles to convert speed to power as a pass rusher
-Doesn’t have much burst off the ball at the snap
-Will get run up the arc as a pass rusher and lacks a go-to move
-Slow to set up rush moves and counter

Bio

-Originally committed to Notre Dame for lacrosse
-Started out at Ohio State as a safety (No. 1 safety in state of Ohio) before transitioning to linebacker and then defensive end
-Named a Freshman All-American in 2015
-Played in 39 career games for Ohio State, recording 116 tackles, 30.0 tackles for loss, 17.0 sacks, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one interception
-Second-Team All-Big Ten in 2017
-Academic All-American in 2016

Tape Breakdown

Coming out of Ohio State, Sam Hubbard seems to be a name that folks are forgetting about when it comes to pass rushing prowess. With the likes of Joey Bosa two seasons ago and Nick Bosa next year, there’s a few big names right there in just one family. But lets not forget about guys like Adolphus Washington, Darron Lee, Noah Spence, and even Ryan Shazier.

 Sam Hubbard is a name that’s not as big as some of those, but he was a consistent pass rush presence for the Buckeyes under Urban Meyer, at least from a tackle for loss and sacks perspective each season.

Hubbard’s junior year was a bit of a step back in numbers, but it’s important to remember he played on a line that was 8 or 9 deep, allowing the Buckeyes to rotate fresh defensive linemen in and out under Larry Johnson.

With Hubbard, he’s quietly underrated as a run defender, and as a pass rusher. His motor runs hot in both phases of the game, which makes for a coaches dream. You never have to worry about effort with him.

As a former lacrosse player, Hubbard is athletic for the position, but he’s not the twitchy athlete as some other edges in this draft class.

Against the Indiana Hoosiers to start the season, Hubbard leaps over this attempted cut-block, and then continued on to pressure the quarterback all in one motion, forcing a near interception.

Hubbard has great reactionary skills and really seems to read what offensive linemen are trying to do to him quickly.

This is one of my favorite plays from Hubbard throughout the 13 game tapes I watched of him while at Ohio State.

One thing I noticed right away with Hubbard is how technically sound and disciplined he was against the run, squeezing down on the line when his lineman pulled, when to shoot a gap and when to stand up his tackle in the hole.

Here against Oklahoma on the road during the 2016 season, Hubbard reads his keys well, squeezing down to the hip of Orlando Brown before then dropping his pad level to blow up fullback Dimitri Flowers in the hole, allowing his defensive teammates to come up to make the stop near the line of scrimmage.

When Hubbard plays the run, he’s great at locking his arms out against offensive linemen, keeping them away from his frame, where he’s then able to use his eyes to find the football.

Once he does that, he’ll quickly shed blockers to make a play on the ball, which helped him live around the football during his three years in Columbus.

Look at the way he punches and locks out the Wisconsin tackle here during the 2016 season, allowing him to string out the play before then disengaging to make the tackle for loss.

When rushing the passer, Hubbard uses his hands very well, but he’s inconsistent at using them to create a rush.

Check out these next two clips.

Against Michigan State in 2015, Hubbard blows right past the Spartans’ tackle thanks to a tremendous initial punch, before then following that up with a club and a rip, recording the sack and forced fumble.

The second clip is against Illinois this season. I feel like Hubbard lost some of his pass rushing plans this season due to the constant rotation along the defensive line. Too often, I saw him get walled off in his rushes right after the snap because he was slow to not only set up his rushes, but execute them as well.

Should he get with a good defensive line or linebackers coach in the NFL, I think he’s certainly got the tools to develop into a steady pass rusher. For now, I think he can play right away in a 4-3 alignment. I wouldn’t try and move him to outside linebacker, simply because he rarely did it at Ohio State, and when he did drop into coverage, he was uncomfortable doing it.

His best fit is as a guy with his hand in the dirt in a 4-3 defense, setting the edge against the run and creating pressure off the edge or on twists and stunts into the middle of the offensive line.

Projection:  Mid-Day 2

Games Watched: vs. Michigan State (’15), vs. Notre Dame (’15), at Penn State (’16), at Oklahoma (’16), at Wisconsin (’16), vs. Michigan (’16), at Indiana (’17), vs. Penn State (’17), at Iowa (’17), vs. Illinois (’17), at Michigan (’17), vs. USC (’18)

 

Previous 2018 NFL Draft Player Profiles
Sam Darnold Garret Dooley Calvin Ridley Fred Warner Ronald Jones II
Maurice Hurst Mike McCray DeShon Elliott  Malik Jefferson Ogbo Okoronkwo
Trayvon Henderson Josh Rosen Ronnie Harrison Kallen Ballage Cedric Wilson Jr.
Micah Kiser Will Hernandez Leighton Vander Esch Josh Allen   Harold Landry
Marquis Haynes  Tremaine Edmunds Kerryon Johnson Lorenzo Carter  Sony Michael
Kyzir White  Rashaan Evans  Tegray Scales  Isaac Yiadom  Jeff Holland
 Rashaad Penny John Kelly Bo Scarbrough  Roquan Smith  Durham Smythe
 Mark Walton  Josey Jewell  PJ Hall  Dorian O’Daniel  Josh Adams
 Leon Jacobs  Marcus Davenport  Jack Cichy  Royce Freeman  Nick DeLuca
 Vita Vea  Vita Vea  Mason Rudolph  Shaun Dion Hamilton  MJ Stewart
 Derwin James  Kameron Kelly  Justin Reid

 

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