Who The Hell Is Chris Hubbard?
If you’re asking that question headed into free agency, you’re not alone. But this nameless tackle stands to cash in come March when he hits the open market. Hubbard is a former UAB Blazer and All-Conference USA selection that joined Pittsburgh as an undrafted free agent in 2013. He returned to Pittsburgh as a restricted free agent this past offseason.
As the team’s swing tackle, he grew into a starting role once Marcus Gilbert was suspended. Hubbard is another player on the long list of players without high draft pedigree developed under Mike Munchak. He played right tackle in a gap heavy scheme that emphasized vertical sets in the passing game from both 2 and 3 point stances.He frequently had the help of a tight end lining up beside him to chip better edge rushers. Hubbard is deeply undersized at just 6’3, 286 pounds with a well-muscled frame. He shows impressive athleticism with light feet, good quickness and agility, and adequate balance.
|Prospect (Last, First)
|Scout Name (Last, First)
|KEY STATS||2017 – 780 Snaps, 2 False Starts, 1 Holding Penalty, 4.0 Sacks Allowed|
|Height||Weight||40 YD||10 YD||Arm||Hand||Vert||3Cone||SS||Broad||Bench|
Hubbard explodes out of his stance in all settings with impressive quickness to meet true speed rushers from a wide 9 to the set. When he’s calm, he plays with a wide base, good knee bend, and grass-cutting feet. He’s a savy player that consistently identifies blitzes, stunts, and twists and knows how to pass off assignments and play to his help. Hubbard plays long and can shoot deliberate single and double arm punches with impressive grip strength to command most DEs with measured extension when he wins the chest. He can drop his elbows and reset his hands when he’s out of position.
The tackle is more than capable of and happy to steer rusher’s arcs out wide. Hubbard does a good job fending off inside counters and spins when he’s in good position. He’s strong with his hands and can fend off some hand fighting. When his feet are wide and behind him, he can drop a solid anchor and control Akeem Hick’s types with minimal give.
He’s an explosive zone blocker that can cross face against 3i’s from the backside on reach blocks while throwing a side arm to help his teammates. He possesses good timing off combo blocks and displays the mobility to climb to the second level and cover linebackers and safeties with strong use of circular force to finish. Hubbard pops his hips into contact on down and base blocks and sustains his feet to move smaller ends. He is efficient with the mobility to get out in front on pulls and powers. He is a strong finisher that plays through the whistle and looks for work.
When he feels pressed, Hubbard will narrow his feet in his pass sets, leaving him off balance. He has a tendency to overset against speed rushers. He needs to become more precise with his hands. He carries them wide in his pass sets and is inconsistent with his timing and placement, often missing high and shooting with his hands outside of his elbows. When he’s early with his hands, he’ll lunge into contact. He’s jilted by powerful hands when he loses the chest and is vulnerable against power rushers when he isn’t in command. Calais Campbell made him look silly on multiple occasions during their Week 5 matchup.
Hubbard doesn’t get into ideal shoulder to hat position on combo blocks. On outside zone plays, he’s a half-beat slow to identify his assignments, although that could be a comfort issue as Pittsburgh rarely ran such plays. His hands come wide into contact and leave his chest vulnerable. When he loses his chest, stronger players easily bench press him to play on their own terms. He has a hard time generating movement against bigger 3i’s.
Hubbard is going to get paid this offseason. He’s a starter you can win with best suited for a finesse based scheme that allows him to win with his impressive foot quickness and surprising hand strength. Unless Detroit has particularly soured on Taylor Decker or Rick Wagner, which is unlikely, he won’t be a free agent target.
Grade: 6.25 (Starter You Can Win With)