Bengals Day 3 draft picks will battle for playing time in 2021

MOBILE, AL - JANUARY 30: (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
MOBILE, AL - JANUARY 30: (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /
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Note: Sample is at 1:25 on the above video
Cameron Sample vs Khalid Kareem

Cameron Sample out of Tulane is one of the more intriguing additions to the Bengals from the 2021 NFL Draft. At 6’3, 280lbs Sample isn’t the prototypical size of edge rusher that appeals to the Bengals. At Tulane, Sample accounted for 10.5 sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss in his four-year career for the Green Wave.

In 2020, Sample was Pro Football Focus’ eighth-highest rated edge rusher, with a score of 84.0 in the run game and 90.4 in pass rushing. Sample projects as an ideal backup to Hubbard. When analysts evaluate Sample, they often used the same buzzwords we associated with Hubbard, high motor, effort rusher and versatile.

Sample will compete with last year’s fifth-round pick Khalid Kareem. Kareem played 259 snaps last year due to injuries and the fallout with Carlos Dunlap which left the team short-handed along the defensive line. Kareem’s contribution peaked in week eight against the Titans when he played 68 percent of the defensive snaps.

Kareem flashed at times, enough to feel that he can be a useful backup in the early stages of his career. He notched his first sack against the Redskins chasing down a scrambling Alex Smith to push him out of bounds. Kareem will likely get another strong look ahead of the season but Sample will push him.

The benefit of Sample is his ability to kick inside, much like Hubbard. While he didn’t take snaps aligned against guards in college, he excelled in doing so at the Senior Bowl. That versatility gives him a chance to secure playing time on pass-rushing downs as a defensive tackle.

The Bengals remain undermanned on the interior and the hope will be Sample can help them there as much as off the edge.