To start this player review, we need to have a little chat about expectations. Every person on this earth walks around every day with the pressure of being something. Whether these expectations are placed on us by ourselves or by others doesn’t really matter, because all a person can be is themselves.
In football, some players can also make contributions beyond what most fans expect. This will be important to remember as we talk about the player fans constantly scoff at, tight end Drew Sample.
Height: 6 ‘4 ”
Weight: 258 lbs
Hometown: Bellevue, WA
Experience: third season
Sample is entering the third season of his rookie contract. It should be $ 1.5 million against the cap, according to Spotrac.com and, except overtime, become a free agent after the 2022 season.
The 52nd overall pick in the 2019 Draft. That’s a designation many can’t forget when it comes to Washington’s tight end. Sample’s choice shocked many Bengals fans as it seemed to come out of nowhere, and it was not seen as an ideal way to kick off the Zac Taylor era in Cincinnati.
Sample played nine games in his rookie year before an ankle injury derailed his season. He then played most of 2020 as the starting tight end following CJ Uzomah’s season-ending injury in Week 2. It was a top-down season for Sample. The former Husky struggled with falls at times and ended up with just 40 receptions for 349 yards. While many viewed his production in 13 starts as lackluster, they forget that what Sample brings to the table doesn’t show up on the stats sheet. And it blocks.
Outlook for 2021
This is not to say that Sample will show he was worthy of the 52nd overall pick in 2019. Rather, it is about forgetting where he was drafted, unless it is to directly criticize the personnel manager. players from the Bengals, Duke Tobin, or Taylor. Sample had no control over the round he was selected in, and if we the fans keep hanging on to it, we might miss watching a really good player do his thing.
Upon graduating from college, Sample wasn’t much touted as a wide receiver. Heading into 2021, he likely won’t be relying on him much to catch assists either with the return of Uzomah and the squad adding Ja’Marr Chase to capable players who already included Tyler Boyd, Joe Mixon and Tee Higgins. . The sample is found quite low on the totem pole over there.
Where Sample will make his difference is as a blocker. He hasn’t been able to shine as much because blockers inherently get less credit when they do their jobs well. It didn’t help that over the past two seasons the Bengals’ running game and overall blocking have really struggled. Still, there have been notable examples of Samples that get the job done.
Sample is often included in big games like this as a blocker, but they just don’t get as recognized as big payouts. Yes, he has plenty of room to grow as a wide receiver, but that won’t be as much of a concern as his opportunities dwindle this year. Additionally, with new / old offensive line coach Frank Pollack taking over the running game, we might see Sample used in even more innovative ways this season.
Cincinnati is expected to have more big games in 2021, and if you keep an eye out there’s a good chance you’ll see a sample block leading the way.