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NFL Draft

Wyatt Hubert: 2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview Series

  • The Draft Network
  • March 14, 2021
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Today’s NFL puts a premium on versatile defensive linemen who can make plays and be productive no matter where they line up.

If your favorite team is looking for that kind of player in the 2021 NFL Draft, Kansas State’s Wyatt Hubert should be on their radar. Hubert finished his Wildcats career tied for eighth in school history with 20 sacks.

Hubert recently spoke exclusively with The Draft Network about his experience at this year’s Senior Bowl, why he was able to put up such big numbers at Kansas State, and what kind of player he’ll be at the next level.

JM: You have a wrestling background. Wrestling is one of the best sports you can participate in at a young age, especially as somebody that plays football in the trenches. How did that make you a better defensive lineman?

WH: I get that question quite a bit. Basically every NFL team I’ve met with has asked me that. That’s probably one of the most beneficial things, especially as a defensive lineman, like you said.

There are so many traits that translate over from wrestling to football. How accurate you are with your hands is a big one. You always have to stay active with your hands in order to be a successful defensive lineman.

Most D-linemen don’t get a sack on their initial pass-rush move. It’s usually on a counter or sometimes it’s an effort sack. That’s something that really translated over from wrestling for me.

The main thing in the run game is all about grasping overall concepts and how to gain leverage. Wrestling helps you understand leverage. Me being a 6-foot-3 guy, I’m used to playing against offensive linemen that are at least 6-foot-5. Having that leverage and understanding how to gain it has really helped me in my career.

I truly believe it will help me in the NFL as well. The similarities between wrestling and football are super helpful and beneficial.

JM: It shows up on tape constantly with you. You competed in this year’s Senior Bowl. What was your experience like?

WH: Being at the Senior Bowl was awesome. It was especially beneficial this year with how the pandemic has impacted the process. It was that much more important this year because the combine got canceled. It gave me a chance to go out there and showcase my skills in front of all 32 teams. I showed the scouts what I’m capable of.

I interviewed with all 32 teams. It goes back to how important this year’s Senior Bowl was. That was basically the only chance we’re going to get to meet with teams in person. I thought all of my interviews went really well. I think I left a great impression both on and off the field.

Overall, it was a great experience. I practiced and played against some of the best players in all of college football. I formed so many good relationships in Mobile. It was an awesome event.

JM: You touched on it a bit, but I want to expand on the impression you left. What do you think all 32 teams said about Wyatt Hubert at the end of the week?

WH: I made a lot of plays on the field and came up with some big sacks. I was very disruptive throughout the week. Off the field, I really shined during the interview process. Teams love to gauge how a player conducts himself off the field.

They wanna know if you have off-field issues. Is this a prospect that gets in trouble? None of that applies to me whatsoever. I’ve never had an issue off the field. Even though I’ve been in college for the past four years, I’ve always carried and conducted myself like a professional. 

I knew that my time would come. I didn’t want to have any issues throughout the pre-draft process. 

Whichever team chooses to draft me, they already know that I’m going to be a great guy to have in the locker room. I’m gonna embrace the culture of the organization. I will believe in the core values that we put forward as a franchise. I’ll do everything I can to make us better.

JM: Your professionalism off the field is extremely evident. On the field, you were incredibly productive at Kansas State with 20 career sacks to your name. What can you tell me about your pass-rush arsenal, and what about it allowed you to get after the quarterback so consistently?

WH: I give a lot of that credit to Kansas State. I was an early enrollee from high school. I actually graduated from high school early and started at K-State in the spring.

That’s one of the reasons I was so successful. My first two or three years, the offensive line was super talented and successful. 

A name that may be familiar to you is Dalton Risner. He starts for the Denver Broncos now. Having a super talented offensive lineman like that on my team, it was huge for me to practice against him while I was still a young player. We had so much experience on the O-line and I benefited from that every single day in practice. It helped me reach my potential.

Fast forward to my redshirt freshman year, it was my first time stepping on the field on a Saturday. Everything was slowed down for me because I had already been through so much during my redshirt season, and the two spring balls before that.

That’s why I have to give K-State all of the credit for my success. The guys I went up against in practice made me a better player. It was a challenge every single day.

Fast forward to my redshirt sophomore year and my redshirt junior year, I learned from the older guys. I’ve always been a student of the game. I understand so much more than just my own responsibilities. I understand the responsibilities of the linebackers behind me. I know what the other three defensive linemen are supposed to do. 

Really, I understand every single position and role on the front seven. I know what’s going on around the box and at the line of scrimmage. You have to have a full grasp and understanding of that.

Getting into my pass-rush arsenal, I’ve gone up against so many good offensive tackles. Almost every single quarterback in The Big 12 is a dual-threat quarterback. That was the main thing we had to worry about every single week. It was the same thing every year. This quarterback can throw, but he can also take off and make things happen with his legs.

Pass rushing against a dual-threat quarterback really helps you develop as a pass rusher. I give the Big 12 a lot of credit for my development as a pass rusher.

JM: That’s a terrific, in-depth answer. You met with every team at the Senior Bowl as you said, but we’ve now reached the virtual part of the draft. How are your virtual meetings going?

WH: A lot of teams are interested. I have a full slate of interviews. My schedule is full with team meetings. I’m super excited. I can’t wait to talk ball with them.

JM: I’ve really appreciated your time today, Wyatt. This has been great. You’re obviously very knowledgeable and passionate about the game of football and that’s really going to shine through in all of your team meetings. In closing, what kind of impact is Wyatt Hubert going to make at the next level?

WH: The first thing I want to do is earn the respect of the veterans on my team. I wanna go in there as a rookie and earn the respect of the older guys. I want to earn my stripes both on and off the field.

I want to prove to the organization that drafted me that it was a good pick. The plays that I make on the field combined with what I do in the locker room will prove that to them. 

Like I said earlier, I’ve always carried myself like a professional. The time has now come for me to become an actual professional (laughs). I’ve practiced that day in, day out for the last five years. 

I’m super excited for what’s next. I can’t wait.

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