Bengals Roster: Realistic expectations for Drew Sample in 2023

Nov 21, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Cincinnati Bengals tight end Drew Sample (89) against the Las
Nov 21, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Cincinnati Bengals tight end Drew Sample (89) against the Las / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals re-signed Drew Sample this offseason, meaning he's back for a fifth season in the Queen City. The Bengals previously spent a second-round pick on the Washington product back in the 2019 NFL Draft, a move that was pretty surprising at the time given Sample's lack of production at Washington.

The only year where Sample put up okay pass-catching numbers was in 2020 when CJ Uzomah missed all but two games. He finished that year with 40 catches for 349 yards and one touchdown but he's mostly been utilized as a blocking tight end outside of that season.

Sample was injured for nearly all of the 2022 season and it didn't feel like the team would bring him back in the offseason but they did, albeit late in the game. Like it or not, he's back for another year in Cincinnati.

What should Bengals fans expect from Drew Sample in 2023?

With the Bengals signing Irv Smith Jr. in the offseason, he'll be the starting tight end. Sample will battle Devin Asiasi for the backup tight end spot but if he doesn't win that job, he'll be the third-stringer.

Asiasi stepped up as the backup last year when Sample was out so he might have a slight leg up over the former second-round pick. Sample, however, has been with Zac Taylor since he first came to Cincinnati to be the head coach of the Bengals so that could work in his favor.

If Sample wins the backup job, he'll be used mostly in a blocking role unless Smith gets injured. If he's the third-string option, he probably won't be on the field much other than for special teams plays.

Next. Last Season. 3 Bengals Definitely Entering Their Last Season With Team. dark

Sample hasn't lived up to the hype of being a second-round pick but clearly the Bengals view him as valuable depth. That's why he's sticking around for another season.