Cincinnati Bengals: Drew Sample on the verge of a breakout season

Drew Sample, Cincinnati Bengals -Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
Drew Sample, Cincinnati Bengals -Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2021 season could see the Cincinnati Bengals offense take a significant leap. Joe Burrow is returning from injury and Ja’Marr Chase, his favorite weapon from his LSU days, is joining him in the Queen City.

For the Bengals to be even better than what they could be offensively, tight end Drew Sample must take the next leap. Jordan Dajani of CBS Sports pegged Sample as the Bengals’ most underrated player and had this to say:

"Sample hasn’t been a dominant weapon for the Bengals in his first two seasons, but he’s set up for what could be a breakout year. The Bengals found their franchise quarterback in Joe Burrow and have two intriguing receivers on the outside in Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins. Tyler Boyd is nothing to sneeze at either. Sample could be the future at tight end for the Bengals, but he needs to start making that argument in 2021 with two years left on his rookie deal."

The Bengals took Sample in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft expecting him to be what Tyler Eifert couldn’t — A reliable starting tight end.

As a rookie, Sample appeared in nine games with two starts and had just five catches for 30 yards. The next year, fans weren’t optimistic about Sample until C.J. Uzomah was injured, which paved the way for Sample to see the field more. He finished the year with 40 receptions for 349 yards and scored his first NFL touchdown.

Bengals TE Drew Sample could have a breakout season in 2021.

Third time’s a charm, as they say.

Sample is entering year three with the Bengals and the expectations for the offense haven’t been this high in his previous two years. Joe Burrow was a rookie quarterback last year but now that he has a season of pro football under his belt and has some of the best receivers in the league at his disposal, this offense has no excuse not to be better. Sample should play into that.

If Sample can take the next leap and elevate his game, it’ll give Burrow yet another weapon to throw to. If he has another disappointing year, however, then it’s safe to say Cincinnati will be looking for a new tight end after this year.

Dajani notes in the write-up above that this is the year for Sample to prove what he can do and he’s absolutely right. It’s now or never for Sample so he needs to break out in 2021 or else it’s probably not going to happen.

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The hype isn’t real big for Sample outside of Cincinnati (and it’s not even that big there if we’re being perfectly honest) but he has a chance to become a top-ten tight end if all goes according to plan.