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Tulane’s Sample, Johnson get taken on Day 3 of 2021 NFL Draft

On Saturday the Green Wave saw a pair of dynamic defensive playmakers find new NFL homes.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 04 Armed Forces Bowl - Southern Miss v Tulane Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Green Wave fans didn’t have to wait quite as long this year to see one of their guys selected in the 2021 NFL Draft. In fact it was the shortest wait they’d had since Matt Forte was chosen by the Bears in 2008. When the Cincinnati Bengals came calling in the fourth round on Saturday afternoon, defensive end Cameron Sample was there to eagerly receive it.

Sample was selected with the 111th overall pick in this year’s draft and it should come to little surprise. He was the defensive MVP of last year’s Senior Bowl after all and finished his collegiate career with 162 total tackles (20.5 for loss) and 10.5 sacks.

He comes to a Bengals team that was in need of pass rushers going into the draft. Last season Cincinnati ranked dead last in the NFL in terms of sacks, only bringing down opposing quarterbacks 17 times all year. Sample will undoubtedly make a fine addition to that squad and is the first Tulane DE to be selected since Ade Aruna in 2017

It wasn’t just one Green Wave pass-rushing nightmare, though, that got the call this weekend. Three rounds later, Sample’s teammate Patrick Johnson found out that he was headed to Philadelphia. The Eagles used the 234th overall selection to nab Johnson and they got a steal in doing so. We had him pegged to go as a mid-rounder but he slipped all the way to the 7th.

Johnson brings with him quite the resume to Philly. Finishing as Tulane’s all-time sack getter in his career with 24.5 and another 35 tackles for loss Johnson could be just what the doctor ordered for the Eagles to help bolster a defense that gave up over 2,000 yards on the ground in 2020 (20th in NFL).

All in all it was another great draft for the Green Wave; something that’s become commonplace in head coach Willie Fritz’s tenure. Since 2017, Tulane has seen at least one player selected in the draft each year and, more specifically, seen at least one defensive player taken.