The Cincinnati Bengals doubled-dipped on the pass-rush in the 2021 NFL draft.
To start their trip to the fourth round, the Bengals drafted Tulane defensive end Cameron Sample, which came right on the heels of adding Joseph Ossai in the third round.
While he’s not as big of a name, the scouting reports say quite a list of encouraging things about this new addition to Lou Anarumo’s defense.
Lance Zierlein, NFL.com
American Team defensive lineman Cameron Sample of Tulane (5) during the second half of the NCAA college football Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Rusty Costanza)
Zierlein wasn’t Sample’s biggest fan, listing him with a Round 6 grade:
“Sample is a short-stepper with hip tightness and wasn’t able to convert enough pressures into sacks while playing outside. However, his skilled rush attacks and short-area footwork could give him advantages on the interior, where he can take more of a straight-line approach to the quarterback. He has quick hands and good upper-body strength, but it’s not a lock he’ll get used to battling NFL wide-bodies inside, despite his physical nature and toughness. Sample should become a solid, scheme-diverse defender with the ability to play strong-side end on early downs and reduce inside as a rusher. There could be teams who see him as a smaller three-technique if he can carry the weight.”
Ian Cummings, Pro Football Network
American Team defensive lineman Cameron Sample of Tulane (5) walks on the field at the end of the NCAA Senior Bowl college football game in Mobile, Ala., Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
Cummings, like many, leaned heavily into Sample’s stunning showing at draft events to praise his pro upside:
“Luckily for Sample, he improved his stock at the Reese’s Senior Bowl. There, we got a better analysis of Sample’s athletic traits. Sample consistently showed solid burst off the line, fast, powerful hands at the point of attack, and nice ankle flexion around the edge as well. He was voted as the best defensive lineman for practice week, and named the Defensive Player of the Game on game day. From both the edge and the interior, he generated pressure.”
The Draft Network
American Team defensive lineman Cameron Sample of Tulane (5) runs during the NCAA Senior Bowl college football game in Mobile, Ala., Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
The Draft Network also pointed out that Sample got usage all over the formation and sounds pretty much exactly like a Bengals edge defender:
“Sample doesn’t have a desirable long and lean athletic frame, but his power, grip strength, built-in leverage, processing skills, and versatility make him an appealing prospect. Tulane played him all across the defensive front seven including as a defensive tackle, defensive end, and stand-up rush linebacker. At the next level, Sample’s best fit comes as a base 4-3 defensive end that should get opportunities to rush interior gaps on long and late downs. “
Cincinnati Bengals Cam Sample runs a drill during an NFL football rookie minicamp in Cincinnati, Friday, May 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)
Bleacher Report’s scouting department tabbed Sample with a Round 4 grade and again hinted at big upside in the right system:
“A 267-pound power-rusher, Sample will need to develop more savvy to survive as a hybrid lineman who plays inside and outside offensive tackles if he wants full-time work. But the system he played in at Tulane was not structured to develop him in that way, which opens the door for him to be a better in the NFL than he was in college.”