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Cam A Sample Of Bengals Rookie Class As Minicamp Assembles

Cam Sample on the move again.
Cam Sample on the move again.

The Bengals rookies are here as they check in for Friday morning's one day minicamp consisting of the 10 draft picks and a college free agent group to be announced a few hours before practice on the turf in Paul Brown Stadium.

A sample of what the Bengals are going to be watching:

One of the more prepared guys in the rookie class, Cam Sample, Tulane's jackhammer of a defensive end, has already declared defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo's hybrid 3-4 well-suited to his varied skills.

"We do a lot of the same things," said Sample, who has been in virtual meetings pretty much since the Bengals drafted him early in the fourth round.

"To be able to rush from anywhere from a five technique to a nine technique and some plays I'll kick inside over the three technique rushing and maybe a little dropping here and there. It's pretty comparable."

Translation: The 6-3, 267-pound Sample, who caused commotion no matter where he lined up during four seasons and 41 games with 20.5 tackles for loss, 10. 5 sacks, and seven passes defensed, has set the edge against the run, rushed the passer from both the outside and inside and also occasionally dropped into pass coverage.

(A historical comp? Georgia's Robert Geathers, the 117th pick in the 2004 fourth round. If Sample, the 111th pick, plays in 152 games and five more in the playoffs, the Bengals would no doubt take that.)

"I feel more comfortable on the edge. That's where I played the majority at Tulane, but in the sub package I don't have any problem doing that," Sample said.

If Sample sounds a bit like a coach, he's done some of that, too. A two-time captain, Sample put together off-season workouts when the position coach left. He also prepped before deciding to play last year during the pandemic. It helps his father works in contract management for the Centers for Disease Control.

"It was new to him, too, so we were asking all the questions and he was trying to give me all the insight he had. I was leaning on him for all that stuff," said Sample, who decided it was OK to play. "We talked about it briefly. We felt like with the protocol Tulane had in place with everyone getting tested, we saw how they were progressing going toward the season and I wanted to play my final year."

Sample is a good representation of what the Bengals poured into this draft and what they want to get out of it. He's one of seven offensive and defensive linemen, one of four defensive linemen and one of three edges that they drafted with their last nine picks.

Sample, third-rounder Joseph Ossai and seventh-rounder Wyatt Hubert are all college ends who have some common threads. They moved around on their college fronts, but they set the edge against the run, something the Bengals have failed to do while allowing the most rushing yards in the league since 2018.

All three also play with a relentless style that has been characterized by coaches and scouts as "hair on fire," which seems to be a brew of passion and tenacity that stood out on tape.

Sample says he came by his flame by simply growing up. His father played basketball at Southern University, his mother ran track in high school and uncles both played and coached basketball.   

"Athletic background," Sample said. "That competitive, going hard atmosphere was kind of brought into me since I was born. It just kind of stuck with ever since."

It turned out that Bengals area scout Christian Sarkisian who covers Tulane, checked in Sample on Friday. It was Sarkisian who noted in his reports not only how hard he played every snap, but that Sample also got a degree from one of the top finance schools in the country.

"Cam, you were fun to watch at Tulane," Sarkisian said.

"I hope I am here, too," Sample said.

The Bengals continue to sample their newest players in Friday's 10:45 a.m. workout.