NFL Draft Day 3: Topekan Wyatt Hubert drafted in seventh round by Cincinnati Bengals

Former Jayhawk Pooka Williams also a Bengal after signing as undrafted free agent

Josh Rouse
Topeka Capital-Journal
Kansas State defensive end Wyatt Hubert, a Shawnee Heights product, was waiting to hear his name called Saturday during Day 3 of the NFL Draft in Cleveland.

A second Topeka native heard his name called Saturday in the seventh round during the final day of the 2021 NFL Draft in Cleveland.

Kansas State defensive end Wyatt Hubert, a Shawnee Heights product, was selected with the 235th pick by the Cincinnati Bengals, becoming the fifth Wildcat all-time to be selected by Cincinnati.

He is now the second Shawnee Heights alum to be drafted in the last three years after former T-Bird and Washburn standout Corey Ballentine was chosen in the sixth round by the New York Giants in 2019.

Hubert started 29 career games for the Wildcats and was tied for eighth in school history with 20 career sacks, earning first-team All-Big 12 honors twice.

Hubert was the only nontransfer player from either KU or K-State to be drafted this year.

But he will have a familiar face with him at rookie camp.

Kansas running back Pooka Williams signed as an undrafted free agent with the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday.

Former Kansas running back Pooka Williams went undrafted but was promptly signed by Cincinnati following the draft on Saturday evening.

Officially clocking in at just 5-foot-8 and some change, the explosive Jayhawk junior opted to forego his senior season to pursue his professional career.

“A diamond go thruu (sic) a lot before it shine .. #BeenOverlooked,” Williams tweeted after the conclusion of the seventh round.

Several of Hubert’s K-State teammates found new homes as undrafted free agents, as well, with cornerback AJ Parker reaching a UFA deal with the Detroit Lions, linebacker Elijah Sullivan inking with the San Francisco 49ers and tight end Briley Moore heading to the Tennessee Titans.

Kansas ties

Another former Jayhawk running back found a home on Saturday, too.

Khalil Herbert, who transferred as a fifth-year player from KU to Virginia Tech in 2020, was selected with the 217th pick by the Chicago Bears, joining Topeka High and Oklahoma State product Teven Jenkins in the Windy City.

During his four years at Kansas, Herbert rushed for 1,735 yards and 14 touchdowns. As a graduate transfer for the Hokies, Herbert ran for 1,183 yards and eight touchdowns in 2020 and also had 179 receiving yards and a touchdown catch.

Josh Ball, an offensive tackle from Marshall who was selected in the fourth round by Dallas, is another draftee with some Sunflower State roots.

The No. 138 selection played junior college ball for Butler Community College in 2018 before heading to Marshall.

The Virginia native measures in at 6-7, 308 pounds.

Additionally, another former Grizzly, wide receiver Myron Mitchell out of UAB, signed with the Minnesota Vikings as a free agent.

Chiefs pick four

The Kansas City Chiefs finished out Day 3 with a focus on making life easier for star quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

After taking Florida State defensive end Joshua Kaindoh to fill a need with the 144th pick during the fourth round, the Chiefs went offensive in grabbing Duke tight end Noah Gray (Pick No. 162), Clemson wide receiver Cornell Powell (No. 181) and Tennessee guard Trey Smith (No. 226).

Kaindoh, a 6-6, 260 edge rusher from Baltimore, was oft-injured during his time with the Seminoles, making just 10 career starts. In eight games in 2020, he had 13 tackles, three for loss, with an interception and a pass breakup.

Gray, who measures 6-3, 240, was Duke’s all-time leading receiver at tight end, accumulating 105 receptions for 948 yards and eight touchdowns in his four-year career. He likely will need to earn his playing time on special teams until he develops his blocking skills a little more.

Powell, meanwhile, adds some skill to the receiving corps after the Chiefs lost Sammy Watkins during the free agency.

His speed isn’t as top-end as some of the other receivers on the team — still pretty respectable, as he ran the 40-yard-dash in 4.47 seconds — but he makes up for it with his craftiness. 

In 2020, the redshirt senior caught 53 passes for 882 yards and seven touchdowns in 12 games, jumping onto the scene after accumulating only 329 receiving yards prior.

He measures in at 6 feet tall and 204 pounds.

Finally, Smith — once thought to be a potential first-rounder — fell to the Chiefs in the sixth round after health issues arose during his college career at Tennessee.

The 6-5, 321-pound guard battled with blood clots in his lungs following his freshman season and had to abruptly end his sophomore campaign when it was believed the blood clots had returned. 

After dropping 40 pounds, he earned first-team All-SEC honors in 2019 after making the move to left guard. He was a first-team all-conference pick again in 2020, starting all 11 games at left guard.

NFL analyst Lance Zierlein was high on the prospect, saying, “When putting together a guard built for an NFL power-based scheme, the blueprint would probably look like Smith. He's big, wide, strong, long and will flash an aggressive streak when he gets geared up. The lack of body control and technique he put on tape suggests it may be difficult for him to overcome his limited athleticism. An offseason of fundamentals work should help Smith become more efficient into first contact, which will really unlock his power at the point of attack. 

“He's been one of the more talked about guard prospects over the last few years but might be in for a bumpy beginning as he adjusts to the athletes and technicians he will face as a pro.”