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While fans might have been looking for the Bengals to take defensive help with their second pick of the 2019 NFL Draft the team had a different plan by trading down and picking tight end Drew Sample out of Washington.
Sample was a three-star prospect coming out of Newport (WA) High School who was not a highly recruiting prospect with his biggest offers being Washington, Boise State, USF and a few FCS offers. Was considered the No. 56 overall tight end in the 2014 recruiting class and No. 14 overall prospect in the state of Washington. Was a prospect to develop at a listed 6-foot-4, 234-pounds.
Redshirted his true freshman season for the Huskies but fought to get on the field at the start of his second year having played in every game with seven starting assignments pulling in five receptions for 45 yards and two scored. In year three played in all 14 games with 11 starts with nine receptions for 106 yards. Year four played in 10 games with eight starts with seven receptions for 84 yards. Saved his best for last returning for his fifth year where he pulled down 25 receptions for 252 yards and three touchdowns.
Nothing fancy about Sample as he’s a punch the clock hardhat wearing player with great size that can play like a more traditional tight end lining up and blocking on the edge while still having enough skill set to run routes and make a play when needed. Will need to continue to add strength while also working on route running.
Not a big pass catching tight end but one that will be physical and bring toughness to the line of scrimmage with his ability to block especially in a zone scheme. Was the fourth tight end selected overall and was high on several draft list because he’s a physical player. Should be expected to step in and play right away and will surprise some with his pass catching ability.
When we did our pre-draft look at who the Bengals should draft at the No. 11 spot, we talked about their being a possibility of them taking a tight end in the first round. By bringing Tyler Eifert back we didn’t expect them to take a tight end in Round One. While need on defense, especially at linebacker and in the secondary is needed, the top two tight ends in the draft had been selected in the first round leaving Irv Smith, Sample and a host of others left on the board. After making the right move to trade the No. 42 pick and dropping down to the No. 52 pick and picking up two more picks with Denver. The Bengals might have taken a stretch by taking Sample so early. Sample is not an Eifert type of player but know they need to be ready in case Eifert is lost again to injury. So in some ways the pick makes sense but in others way you wonder if there might have been a better corner taken in the spot with a TE still on the board in the third round.