Sam Hubbard is returning to his hometown.
While Hubbard's draft wait lasted longer than expected on Friday night, the Cincinnati Bengals selected the former Ohio State defensive end with the No. 77 overall pick in Friday's third round of the 2018 NFL draft, bringing Hubbard back to the city where he grew up.
Back-to-back picks in the third round.— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) April 28, 2018
Back-to-back playmakers on defense. #BengalsDraft
Welcome to the squad, @Sam_Hubbard_ & @malikjefferson!
NFL Network - FOX
- https://t.co/RkeQdgQ6yy pic.twitter.com/kJSgttqhZW
Hubbard is the second Buckeye to be selected by the Bengals in this year's draft, joining Billy Price, who the Bengals selected with the No. 21 overall pick in Thursday's first round of the draft.
While Hubbard was widely projected to be a first- or second-round pick going into the draft, he ended up sliding to the third round. In the end, though, it worked out for Hubbard to be able to play for the team he grew up rooting for.
"Everyone in Cincinnati is a Bengals fan," Hubbard said when asked if he was a Bengals fan at the NFL Scouting Combine. "Growing up, I went to Paul Brown Stadium a bunch."
A three-year regular in Ohio State's defensive end rotation, Hubbard finished his Buckeyes career with 116 total tackles, 29.5 tackles for loss and 17 sacks.
A second-team All-Big Ten selection who had the fastest 3-cone drill time (6.84 seconds) among defensive linemen at the NFL Scouting Combine, Hubbard should contribute to the Bengals' pass-rush but could be most valuable as a first- and second-down defensive end because of his ability to set the edge and stop the run.
Hubbard won a state championship in his hometown while playing for Cincinnati Moeller High School, and won a national championship as a redshirting freshman at Ohio State. Now, Hubbard says his goal is to bring football's biggest prize back to his hometown.
Hubbard is the fifth Ohio State player to be selected in this year's draft, joining Cleveland Browns first-round pick Denzel Ward (No. 4 overall), Price, Indianapolis Colts second-round pick Tyquan Lewis (No. 64 overall) and Miami Dolphins third-round pick Jerome Baker (No. 73 overall). Lewis and Hubbard are the second and third Ohio State defensive ends to be selected in the last three years, joining Joey Bosa, who was selected by the Los Angeles Chargers with the No. 3 overall pick in 2016.
Ohio State's five picks are tied with Alabama and Georgia for the most among all schools through the first three rounds of the draft.