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2019 NFL draft: Introducing Drew Sample, Washington’s do-it-all tight end prospect

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Practice-North John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

There are plenty of big names available in what may be the deepest tight end class the NFL draft has ever seen, but you’d be wise to not overlook Drew Sample. A versatile weapon that can help out an offense in a number of ways, Sample is an incredibly intriguing prospect.

A well-rounded prospect who showcased that versatility at the Senior Bowl, Sample recently spoke exclusively with MCM about his experience in Mobile, what he most enjoys about playing tight end and which of his Washington teammates he would bring to war with him.

JM: What was the experience like at the Senior Bowl?

DS: It was an awesome experience. The whole of process of getting invited to participating in all the different festivities throughout the week was a lot of fun. Being coached by the [Oakland] Raiders, and Jon Gruden and the rest of his coaching staff was really an unbelievable experience for me. I had a lot of fun down there and learned a lot about the offense that we were running. I got to meet a lot of cool people and I got to compete against some great players. It was nice to walk away from the game with the win. It was a really fun week. It was truly a special experience.

JM: What do you think is the lasting impression you left on the teams in attendance?

DS: I think the biggest thing is that I showed them I’m a true all-around tight end. Coming in, people knew I was a pretty good blocker. I think there was still a lot of questions about my pass catching ability. I think I had a pretty good week in that regard. I did a good job catching the ball during 1-on-1 and 7-on-7. I had a couple of catches in the game as well. I was able to showcase my blocking ability as well. I think the combination of those two things proved what kind of versatile player I am. I’m someone who can do a lot of different things. Hopefully the teams were able to see that and hopefully it helps me out during the draft process.

JM: What do you enjoy most about playing tight end?

DS: The most fun part to me about playing tight end is being able to do a lot of different things. We get to be apart of the offensive line. We’re a huge part of the run game. We also go out there and catch passes. The tight end position is incredibly unique. It’s unique to play such an integral part on every phase of the offense. Most teams ask us tight ends to do a lot of different things. We’re expected to be good in all of those areas. We’re relied upon to succeed in different situations. That’s what makes being a tight end truly special to me.

JM: Who would you say is the toughest defensive player you’ve ever gone up against?

DS: One that comes to mind early on in my career would be DeForest Buckner. I played against him while he was at Oregon. This was a few years ago of course. That dude was a pretty good player. I had a few reps against him in pass protection and he was definitely a hard guy to block. He went on to get drafted pretty high and he’s had a pretty nice career so far. It’s always cool to compete against those types of players. I’ve gone up against other big talents but for me, Buckner sticks out. That was during my freshmen year.

JM: What would you say is the biggest lesson you ever learned throughout your time at Washington?

DS: That’s a good question. I think that coach [Chris] Petersen is one of the best coaches in any sport. I admire the way he handles his business. I think one of the biggest things I learned was, he had this saying that went “how you do the small things is how you do all things.” That’s something that really stuck with me not just with football, but life in general. How you do the things that people may not think matters can carry over to everything in your life. Obviously in football this relates to how you study film, working out and getting enough rest. That’s one of the things that coach preached to us. That really stuck with me.

JM: You had a lot of great teammates at Washington, but if you were going to war tomorrow and could only bring one with you, who would you bring and why?

DS: Oh man that’s tough [laughs]. One of the guys I love is Myles Gaskin. Having him as our running back was pretty special. To play alongside him, to block for him was a great feeling. I played four years with him and he’s a great person. I can’t say enough about the type of guy he is. He’s always giving credit to the guys blocking for him. He’s one of the toughest guys I’ve ever played alongside. He would definitely be towards the top of that list. I’d wanna bring that guy with me anywhere. He had such a huge impact on us and the program. He’s a great guy.

JM: If you could catch a pass from one NFL quarterback, who would it be and why?

DS: I love all of the quarterbacks in the NFL [laughs]. Whichever team wants to draft me, just know that I love your quarterback. I have to put that out there [laughs]. Someone I admire is definitely Tom Brady. The type of success he’s had throughout his career is unheard of. I would love to see how he does the things outside of football. You could definitely learn a lot from him. I imagine he does things differently than a lot of other guys. His mentality seems different. That would be pretty special.

JM: That does it for my questions tonight Drew. When a team uses one of their draft picks on Drew Sample, what kind of guy are they getting?

DS: They’re getting a competitor. They’re getting someone who works their butt off in order to help the team. I think I’m someone that can contribute in a lot of different ways whether that’s on offense or special teams. I think I can really add some value to a team. I’m a perfectionist. I put in a lot of film work to ensure I don’t mess up an assignment. I’m committed to this game and committed to making whichever team drafts me a better football team. I’m a versatile guy. These are the things that set me apart. I can come in and play a lot of different positions, whether that’s Y or H. I can do a lot of different things in the passing game and the run game. I think teams will realize that I can help them out in a number of ways. That’s why someone is gonna take a chance on me.