Here are Drew Sample’s full NFL stats.
|Year||Games||Targets||Receptions||Yards||TDs||Fantasy Finish||Fantasy PPG||PPG Rank|
Sample seemed to profile as a blocking tight end entering the NFL. In his first three years at Washington, he totaled only 21 receptions, 235 yards, and two touchdowns. He never played more than eight games in any of those seasons, and he wasn’t a relevant prospect. However, Sample slightly improved in 2018 in his senior season. He caught 25 passes for 252 yards and three touchdowns. While his performance wasn’t anything special, the Bengals saw enough to pick him in the second round. The Bengals drafted Sample in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft with the 52nd overall pick. At the time, I had never even heard of Sample. I couldn’t believe the Bengals passed on receiving tight end weapons like Jace Sternberger, Josh Oliver, Kahale Warring, and Dawson Knox to select Sample.
As a rookie, Sample barely saw any playing time behind veterans Tyler Eifert and C.J. Uzomah. Sample played on less than 10% of offensive snaps throughout the 2019 season, essentially taking a redshirt season. The Bengals were an offensive dumpster fire, although Eifert and Uzomah combined for 70 receptions on 103 targets in head coach Zac Taylor’s new offense. Even though Sample showed nothing as a rookie, the Bengals had a role open for a receiving tight end to claim.
2020 Performance and Outlook
Going into 2020, the Bengals moved on from Eifert, who signed with the Jaguars in free agency. Uzomah became their clear starting tight end, with Sample as the backup. The Bengals use 11 personnel almost exclusively, employing a featured tight end in the offense alongside outside receivers A.J. Green, Tee Higgins, or John Ross, with Tyler Boyd in the slot.
In Week 1, Uzomah played as that featured option, playing on 72% of offensive snaps, compared to 35% for Sample. He caught four of his five targets for 45 yards, while Sample only had one catch for seven yards. Uzomah looked good in the contest, reducing Sample’s shot at a year-two breakout.
However, in Week 2, Uzomah tore his Achilles tendon, forcing him to leave the game. At that point, he had accumulated four catches on six targets for 42 yards and a touchdown. Once Uzomah went down, Sample stepped in as the every-down tight end. Despite only playing 59% of the total snaps in the game, Sample had seven catches on nine targets for 45 yards. He played well, even making a stellar one-handed catch.
With Uzomah out, Sample will claim an every-down role in the Bengals’ offense, playing 75-80% of snaps. He immediately becomes a weekly TE2, with TE1 upside if he continues to develop. He needs to be on a roster in all dynasty leagues, and he could provide an immediate lifeline for those lacking depth at the tight end position.
Even though it was only one game, I liked what I saw from Sample in Week 2. The Bengals need help in their receiving game as Green ages and Higgins continues to develop. I think Sample is a real asset. He’s paired with Joe Burrow, who looks like a future stud after his first two NFL games. I’ll gladly send a future third-round round pick to acquire Sample in dynasty leagues.
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