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Bengals second-round pick Drew Sample impresses at rookie minicamp

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The highly-criticized Drew Sample has shined during rookie OTAs.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals-Draft Pick Press Conference Cincinnati Enquirer-USA TODAY NE

The Cincinnati Bengals sent fans into a frenzy when they drafted Washington Huskies tight end Drew Sample in the second round. The senior wasn’t projected to be a top-100 pick in the draft and was nearly taken within the first 50.

That said, the Bengals, drafting to fill an offensive void instead of selecting pure talent, may have struck gold with the Sample.

Not expected to be a huge part of the offense, Sample’s addition to the roster should bring both consistency and elite blocking, two things lacking from the numerous tight ends over the last few years.

Per Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, Sample is the Bengal that stood out as Cincinnati started their rookie minicamp this past week.

“Speaking of tight ends, another guy who stood out at rookie minicamp was Cincinnati second-round pick Drew Sample. Tight end is an important position in the Bengals’ offense, so it would be huge in Zac Taylor’s first year if the team nailed that pick.

“The staff sees Sample, an outstanding blocker with good receiver skills, playing the role as the traditional ‘Y’ tight end, the same role that Tyler Higbee did in that offense for the Rams. If he’s healthy, Tyler Eifert would then slide into the ‘F’ role as the move tight end, to generate mismatches.

“And the good news here is that Sample has already shown a pretty good ability to pick up what’s being taught and apply it, which is obviously key to contributing as a rookie.”

The Bengals haven’t generally played with two tight ends on the field over the past few seasons, so the combination of Sample and Eifert will be a new look for Cincinnati.

However, given that both tight ends stand over 6-foot-5, the mismatches, one of the many aspects of Sample’s addition that Breer pointed out, could be plentiful for Dalton, who completed under 65% of his attempted passes in 2018.

The development and continued excellence of Sample could play a huge role in the Bengals offensive success both this year and well into the future.