The Cincinnati Bengals spent one of their 2021 fourth-round picks on Tulane's Cam Sample. Sample wasn't drafted to be a starter but rather to serve as a depth piece and that's what he's provided the Bengals with so far.
He finished his rookie season with 14 appearances, notching 14 tackles, five QB hits, and 1.5 sacks. Year two saw the Tulane product appear in 16 games (one start) and tallying 25 tackles, seven QB hits, and two sacks.
Sample went from appearing in 33% of the defensive snaps as a rookie to appearing in 40% in his second year. According to PFF, Sample appeared in far more pass-rushing snaps than run-defense snaps but he had a solid 64.9 run defense grade.
What should Bengals fans expect from Cam Sample in 2023?
While Sample should make the 53-man roster in 2023, it's not a lock by any means. As of now, he projects as the third-string LDE behind Sam Hubbard and Joseph Ossai, per Our Lads. The name pushing for his roster the most is last year's seventh-rounder Jeff Gunter, who looked decent in limited outings last year.
If Sample does make the team, he'll be a rotational piece for the Bengals' defense and will be on the field more for pass-rushing purposes than stopping the run. Then again, after his impressive 2022 showing against the run, maybe he'll be used more in that department.
The Bengals need to make sure their pass rush is better this year and hopefully Sample can make an impact when he's on the field.