There are times when NFL Draft “experts” do nothing but blow smoke. They pump up prospects they personally like, while downgrading others who have glaring strengths.
This was the case with a lot of draftniks regarding Jaylen Samuels, the Swiss Army Knife coming out of North Carolina State. Most labeled him as a jack of all trades, but a master of none.
When the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Samuels, no one knew what to expect from him. Is he a running back? A tight end? An H-back? A full back? Or a wide receiver?
To put into words/numbers what kind of versatility Samuels brings to the team, check out the information below, per Pro Football Focus (PFF):
New #Steelers HB Jaylen Samuels was used primarily in the slot for @PackFootball last season, but he played all over the field. His 2017 snaps by position:— PFF PIT Steelers (@PFF_Steelers) June 28, 2018
Slot Receiver: 458
Outside WR: 33
While the jack of all trades, the master of none, is a mantra many use when talking about Samuels, there is also the saying which states ‘the more you can do’...
This certainly applies for Samuels as he tries to make the Steelers’ 53-man roster. The fact remains Samuels is a 5th round draft pick, and there is no guarantee he even makes the team, despite the hype surrounding him from the black-and-gold fan base.
With that said, the fact Samuels can do so many things makes it a lot easier for the team to find a place for him on their roster. Samuels’ ability to line up as a running back, fullback, wide receiver, tight end and even as a wildcat quarterback on occasion certainly increases his chances of making the team, and potentially seeing the field outside of special teams.
However, as players transition from college to the professional ranks, the expansive playbook can often be too much for them to learn in their rookie season. There is a good possibility the Steelers don’t utilize him in all the various roles N.C. State did based on the fact he has to learn the system, and adapt to life in the NFL.
Otherwise, there is nothing saying Samuels won’t be able to play a variety of positions throughout his NFL career. Some might even suggest his draft selection was the organization preparing for the possibility of life without Le’Veon Bell. No, Samuels isn’t the all-around back like Bell, but he can be the wide receiver/dual threat Bell brings to the team on a weekly basis.
How do you see Samuels’ rookie campaign going? Do you see him making the team? If so, how will he be utilized? Let us know in the comment section below!