The second-year tight end entered the game with six career catches for 37 yards while appearing in just 10 games. The 2019 second-round pick out of Washington had a rookie season to forget, including an ankle injury suffered in Week 10 that led to him being placed on injured reserve.
In Game 1 of the 2020 season, Sample was targeted just one time, which turned out to be a seven-yard reception.
Just four days later vs. the Browns, Sample was much more active, hauling in three catches on four targets for 21 yards early on, including a nice one-handed grab.
But Sample did his damage as the team’s second tight end, as C.J. Uzomah was the starter and was actually having a big game vs. Cleveland, catching four balls on six targets for 42 yards and a score. In Week 1, Uzomah caught four balls on five targets for 45 yards.
Sadly, Uzomah suffered an Achilles injury late in the fourth quarter. It turned out to be a tear, which will end his season.
Now, it’s time for Sample to show why the Bengals made him the 52nd overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. He certainly did well against the Browns, finishing with seven grabs for 45 yards, several of which came on the Bengals’ final offensive possession.
Based on how Burrow’s targets have been divvied out through two games, Sample should get at least five targets a game if he’s the only serviceable tight end on the roster. Currently, Cethan Carter is the only other one on the 53-man roster, but he’s more of a h-back that’s rarely ever been used in the passing game. Mason Schreck is also now on the roster, but he’s never been a real factor in the offense.