Injuries happen in training camp and the Cincinnati Bengals have definitely not been a stranger to that so far this summer. Drew Sample is the latest player to get banged up and this is a chance for the other tight ends on the roster to show what they can do.
Most Cincinnati Bengals fans would agree that the team reached on Drew Sample in the 2019 NFL Draft. He was a second-round pick by the stripes yet only had 252 yards and three touchdowns during his final season at Washington.
Sample hasn’t lived up to the hype whatsoever though he did have a chance to shine while C.J. Uzomah was out for the majority of the 2020 season. Sample had 349 receiving yards and a touchdown that year but went back to mostly being a blocker this past season.
The Bengals signed Hayden Hurst to a one-year deal to be the starting tight end in Cincinnati while Sample took the backup role once again. It’s the final year of Sample’s rookie deal and he needs to prove himself so this injury could make that tricky.
Zac Taylor did note that Sample will only miss a few weeks but this is a chance for the lesser-known tight ends on the roster to step up and make a positive impression.
Drew Sample’s injury needs to push other Bengals tight ends to be better
Since the Bengals rely so much on their wide receiver trio, they probably don’t need to carry more than three tight ends. This meant that most expected the team to carry Hurst, Sample, and probably Mitchell Wilcox since he’s been a special teams ace for the stripes. Wilcox still needs to prove that he can be that player for the team while also making plays on offense.
Thaddeus Moss was a popular name entering training camp last year because of his connection to Joe Burrow at LSU in the 2019 season. He was placed on the practice squad following the preseason games and never ended up seeing the field during the season. Some still think he could be the answer moving forward but at this point, he needs to show more. Being Burrow’s former teammate won’t be enough to get him a roster spot.
The other three tight ends on the team really need to take advantage of the opportunity in front of them too. No one will be shocked if Justin Rigg, Scotty Washington, and Nick Eubanks don’t make the team but with Sample out for the next few weeks, there’s no better time for these guys to step up and make a good impression.
All stats courtesy of ESPN