The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have added some key players to their defensive line this off-season, but there are still guys out there who could add value if available at the right part of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Sam Hubbard is a day two prospect who could come in to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers locker room and provide important depth heading into a crucial season for the franchise.
Hubbard’s College Career
In three years playing for the Ohio State Buckeyes Hubbard tallied more than 100 tackles and 17 sacks while also racking up 30 tackles for a loss.
His tackle and sack numbers dipped in 2016 but came back up last season as he finished with a career high seven sacks and 13.5 tackles for a loss.
In each of his three seasons of play, he earned honors including being named a freshman All-American by USA Today, First-team Academic All-American (2016) and he named to the Second-team All-Big Ten Conference in 2017.
After graduating with a degree in finance Hubbard elected to pursue his dreams of playing in the NFL rather than pursuing a fourth-year of collegiate football.
Hubbard is good at everything. If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers need a consistent motor to come off the edge and get pressure he’ll provide it. At the same time, if the team needs a run defender who knows how to pursue behind the line and contain opposing running backs all the same, he can do it.
Bottom line is this Buckeye knows how to do everything a defensive coordinator wants him to do and will bring consistent effort towards getting even better.
In a league where injuries are always creeping up at the worst time, having a guy like this in their depth chart would certainly provide some security as a rookie who could certainly develop into an every down contributor in a few years time.
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While Hubbard is good on the edge, he isn’t great. He isn’t an elite pass rusher and he isn’t going to stonewall every running back he meets.
Playing for Ohio State certainly helped his development and gave him some brand recognition to go with his play, but he’s also a product to a certain extent of the same line which has gotten him so much attention.
It’s certainly within the realm of possibility his play was bolstered in large part by playing along with guys like Bosa and his little brother Nick among others currently playing in the NFL.
Why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Need Sam Hubbard
Depth is always valuable, and if the Bucs offense can’t stay on the team any better than they did in 2017 the defense is going to need as many players to work with as possible.
The addition of Jason Pierre-Paul certainly diminishes their need for immediate contribution by any rookie edge defender, but his future salary and perceived decline in production certainly call for the team to go ahead and grab a guy they feel could eventually step in full-time.
Playing a combination of JPP and Noah Spence on passing downs while utilizing Hubbard and William Gholston mainly in running situations would give Tampa a combination of defenders they can interchange and really get creative with.
Will It Happen?
The chances of this happening before the trade for Pierre-Paul were certainly better than they are after it.
For one, Tampa had a third round pick in their pocket they could use to potentially move into the later part of the second-round with, or even the potential of trading back and taking Hubbard then.
The trade back is obviously still on the table, but trading up to where he should be selected is not likely to happen as it would simply lead to Jason Licht sacrificing too much draft capital in one year to gain what would largely be considered a ‘luxury’ selection.
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What are your thoughts on Ohio State’s Sam Hubbard? How would he fit with the team, and what are the chances he lands in Tampa during the 2018 NFL Draft?
Sound off in the comments or on social media.