“Might not be a bigger Cam Sample fan than me,” he said on Twitter during the draft. “I compared aspects of his game to Carl Lawson, so no surprise that Cincy is the team that selects him in this draft.”
Might not be a bigger Cam Sample fan than me. I compared aspects of his game to Carl Lawson, so no surprise that Cincy is the team that selects him in this draft— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) May 1, 2021
Cincy Jungle ran an article highlighting his tweet, and Ledyard reached out to expound on his comparison.
“What I saw as similar about Sample and Lawson was their frames, both more compact rushers, basically same height and weight,” he said in a direct message on Twitter. “Lawson had way more experience as an actual edge rusher than Sample, so they aren’t comparable in that way. Sample spent a lot of time as a tight 5, even some as 4i. I felt like he was really effective when they let him get out of a square stance and tee off.”
In a pre-draft article ranking EDGE prospects, Ledyard said that Sample was “terribly misused at Tulane.” Basically, he says that Sample was asked to play too far inside, and he was more effective when he was outside the tackle’s shoulder pads.
“Like Lawson, Sample doesn’t have great bend and can’t live off of being a speed/bend rusher around the edge. But both guys convert speed-to-power, and if Sample can get his hands on the level of Lawson, that’s how he’ll make his living as an edge rusher. Forklifts, long arms, bull rushes, converting other moves off of those...
“Sample is a more diverse player, because he has experience as an inside rusher too. I’m not sure why Lawson isn’t used as a run defender in the NFL, but in college I thought he was a powerful edge setter and Sample sets a hard gap too. Amazing how rarely Sample got moved despite being undersized, even at that level of play. He knows how to drop anchor and play with leverage, which is critical for being able to transition to the NFL right away. Range isn’t gonna be either guy’s biggest strength in the run game.”
Ledyard had highlighted previously how Sample was so effective in the run game at Tulane, then again vs. top-level talent in the Senior Bowl.
Sample was Ledyard’s seventh-highest ranked EDGE prospect and had a third-round grade. He was rated higher than Gregory Rousseau and Joe Tryon, who were both first-round selections.
One thing is for sure, Sample has an intriguing future ahead of him in the NFL.