“I’m really excited to introduce these three players to you here today — Jessie Bates, Sam Hubbard and Malik Jefferson. Malik’s done a little bit of traveling today; the other guys had shorter trips. But we’re excited to have them in town for the evening and get to spend some time with them. They got to spend some time with the fans at the event they had next door, and they’ll have the opportunity the rest of the evening to see the rest of Cincinnati before they come back for rookie camp in about 10 days.”
Defensive end and
What’s the last 24 hours been like for you, Malik? We know you had a pizza-related engagement to get to today, being the NFL/Pizza Hut “Pi” pick since you were the 14th pick in the third round ...
Jefferson: “(Laughs) I actually missed the pizza party. I don’t know how that’s going to work. I’m still working that deal out with my marketing agent. But I’m just ready to get things started here from the football side, and I’m excited to be a part of this organization.”
Sam, you started as a linebacker in high school and then became a defensive lineman in college. Have all those experiences made you a better overall football player?
Hubbard: “Yeah, I think it definitely helps with understanding schemes, what the offense is trying to do, and as a whole what the defense is trying to accomplish. It definitely has contributed to my football IQ the way I play the game.”
Sam, as a Cincinnati guy, what does it mean to you to stay in Ohio and play for your hometown team?
Hubbard: “It’s insane. Seeing that ‘513’ number pop up on draft day was just incredible, and to get an opportunity to represent the city of Cincinnati one more time like I’ve been trying to do at Moeller (High School), at Ohio State and now do it for the pro team in this city is a dream come true.”
Did you have to tell friends not to call you yesterday, because I’d assume if you saw a 513-related phone number you might think it was family and not the Bengals?
Hubbard: “Yeah, I was hoping (no one would call). But no, I didn’t (tell anyone that). My phone was silent, and (when it rang) it turned out to be Coach Lewis.”
Jessie, what are the best traits you bring to the defensive side of the ball?
Bates: “As a safety, you have to be able to communicate. I feel it’s my communication skills and being able to understand the defensive scheme, and not only knowing my position, but every level (of the defense). Also, being able to (make the offense) turn the ball over, that’s the biggest part of the game nowadays. (Make the offense) turn the ball over, and get it back to Andy Dalton. Just coming in, and just being very determined and very consistent with it.”
Is there any leftover tape of Pro Football Hall of Fame safety Rod Woodson you can watch from high school, since you share an alma mater?
Bates: “Rod actually it me up yesterday. It was pretty cool.”
What did he say to you?
Bates: “He was just saying, ‘Congratulations. Really enjoy this whole moment because you only get to do it once. Enjoy it for the
weekend and get right back to work.’”
Did he say anything about the city of Cincinnati or its team in particular?
Bates: “I haven’t checked my phone as much. I talked to him before the draft and such. I had to talk to him after.”
Malik, you were exposed to different defensive schemes during your career at Texas. Do you think those experiences positioned you to be ready to play at the NFL level?
Jefferson: “Correct. With the short notices and the coaching changes, it always helps to know more about the defense and what you’re running, especially from a position of relaying other people’s defenses and different languages. It was a lot to grasp, but at the same time it was a factor in knowing what’s happening with everyone that was behind you. So I was making sure I stayed focus.