Last season, the Cincinnati Bengals struggled to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. This was a key area where they knew they needed to improve this offseason. The addition of free agent Trey Hendrickson was a good start, but it wasn’t enough. The Bengals hit that need hard in the 2021 NFL Draft adding three defensive ends.
Early in the fourth round, the Bengals selected Cameron Sample of Tulane. Sample played standing defensive end this season, but lined up indoors the year before. He even lined up in a 0 technique over cross in some pass rush situations.
His versatility makes him a great choice for defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo’s plan, but as the clips below will show, he brings a lot more to the table than that.
There’s a lot to see in that first clip, but the first thing I’m going to focus on is how quickly he hits the tackle’s hip. This acceleration puts massive pressure on the attacking tackle and forces it to turn outward in an attempt to stop the race at speed. This is how you set up inner movement, but we’ll get to that in a second.
Sample does a great job of taking his hands off the tackle and dropping his shoulder as he turns the corner. He shows quick hands and excellent flexibility in his lower body.
On this game, he demonstrates the tools he needs to be a dominant passer in the NFL.
On this piece, he once again shows his speed.
Sample threatens the tackle to the outside, before stunting in the B-gap. He’s so quick the tackle barely puts his hand in it and the quarterback is in imminent danger.
The QB tries to escape, but Sample grabs him by the jersey and pulls him to the ground.
The first two clips focused on his burst and speed, but Sample can win with power as well. Just watch her hip blast in this clip. He goes under the guards and pushes him back into the backfield.
In order to get the most out of this, he will have to develop some liberation movements. His hands are very quick, but he doesn’t use them enough. This will have to be developed in order to maximize its potential.
His strength is also shown in the running game.
Here the offensive tries to block him with an H-back. Sample hits him and pushes him back. Notice how Sample keeps his feet moving. As the runner gets inside, Sample reaches out an arm and is able to knock him down for a short gain. Again, he would be in better shape if he used his hands to free himself from the blocker, but he still succeeds the game.
One thing that stands out from Sample on film is the number of passes he makes. He seems to have a real talent for it. It is a skill. The defender tries to reach the quarterback first, but if he doesn’t win with his first shot, he must have a block and turn to the quarterback. When the quarterback begins to take his hand off the ball, the defender should respond by raising his hands in the air. The sample is excellent at that.
Sample’s pull stock increased dramatically after an impressive performance at Senior Bowl. Playing at the American Athletic Conference in Tulane, Sample didn’t see NFL-level competition week after week, but at the Senior Bowl he faced the best in the country.
Here, he lines up against Trey Smith of Tennessee in a one-on-one OL / DL. Example of an outward step, threatening Smith and spinning his hips. The sample then returns indoors and has a straight path into the backfield.
Maybe my favorite thing about this clip is the way it ends the exercise. He’s running to defense like he’s supposed to.
Sample has a great set of tools to become an incredible pass passer to the next level. He has powerful explosive hips, speed and flexibility. His hands are quick, but he hasn’t developed any rushing passing moves or downhill moves that use them properly. This is an area that defensive line coach Marion Hobby can work on with him.
The potential is there. Sample could be a star passer for the Bengals with a little work.