The Bengals surprised fans and analysts alike by selecting Washington tight end Drew Sample in the 2nd Round of the NFL draft. Known more as a blocker, Sample had very little receiving production in college and was widely viewed as a Day 3 prospect because of it. The Bengals clearly had a different evaluation of Sample and are betting on him becoming much more than the player he’s been for the past four years.
Let’s take a look at the film and see if we should expect the same of Sample.
In the first clip, Sample is lined up on the right end of the line of scrimmage, He kicks out the edge player for the run to his side. He does not get great movement, but does his job by keeping the defender outside of him and opening up a gap inside.
Sample is once again lined up as the tight end on the right end of the line of scrimmage. This is a power play with the full back and H-back kicking out and the guard pulling around. Sample’s job is to block down. He gets some good movement initially, but is then pushed down. By that time however, the running back would be gone if he had not already been tripped up in the backfield.
On this play, Sample is lined up off of the ball on the right side of the formation. With the run going away, his job is to dig out the defensive end. This means he needs to cut off his pursuit. Sample makes contact and fights his way in front of the end. This is excellent execution.
Sample lines up off of the ball on the left side. Once again this is a down scheme, but this time Sample’s down block takes him up to the linebacker. Sample works up to the linebacker and stops him in his tracks. He even gives a little extra at the end; finishing his block. The linebacker, who happens to be fellow Bengals 2019 draft pick Deshaun Davis, is not pleased with being manhandled by Sample.
So it turns out Drew Sample and Deshaun Davis have met before pic.twitter.com/BLR6ZXJbzn— Matt Minich (@CoachMinich) May 2, 2019
On this play, Sample lines up extended as a receiver. He does a great job of stalk blocking the defender. Sample strikes with his hands and brings his hips before positioning his body to the inside. He does a great job and creates an opportunity for the ball carrier to run inside.
Sample’s use in the pass game was very limited. He ran a limited route tree, but did show ability as a pass catch when targeted. At the combine, he appeared to have good hands and the ability to adjust to the ball.
Although he was not targeted often, he did appear to have the trust of quarterback Jake Browning.
In this clip, Sample is lined up as the slot receiver on the right and hitches up in the middle of the field. When Browning starts to scramble, Sample works towards the sideline to get open and in his quarterback’s line of sight, and Browning gets him the ball on the sideline.
This type of play is not uncommon. Browning seems to seek the tight end when he is in trouble.
In this clip, Sample is lined up off the line on the left side of the line of the formation. He drags across the formation and is wide open when Browning delivers the pass. Once he catches the ball, he turns upfield gaining more than enough yards for a first down.
His exposure is limited, but when he got the chance to participate in the pass game, he proved to have soft hands and the athletic ability to make plays.
Sample has proven himself as one of college football’s best blocking tight ends. This will be very helpful for a Bengals team who lost their best blocking tight end in free agency and whose offensive line was dismal in 2018.
Sample also shows potential as a threat in the pass game. He has good hands and athleticism. He does not need to be a dominant force in the pass game, but being able to contribute as a pass catcher will make him a valuable resource to this franchise.