Draft Insiders’ Rookie Spotlight – FB Jaylen Samuels – Steelers
Draft Insiders’ will post Rookie spotlight players regularly and their Scouting Report from our NFL Draft 2018 Yearbook. Scouting Reports are written from the fall into March annually.
NFL Review 2018 – June 2018
With one of their two 5th round picks, they selected FB Jaylen Samuels. Samuels is one of the more versatile players in this class. He plays a few positions at a high level – fullback, running back, H-back and receiver. He gives them a unique weapon on the play clock to shift into a multiple of alignments. He has excellent hands and can play the 3rd down back role where he is also a factor as a runner in a single backfield. Excellent pick to give this offense many options. He was a steal at the 165th overall selection.
NFL Yearbook – 2018 – March 2018
1 Jaylen Samuels #1 – North Carolina St 6-0 225 – Sp. 4.55
Player Comparison: Karlos Williams Rating 80
Athletic versatile senior was a valuable cog in the NC St. resurgence over the past few seasons, earning ACC honors his final two years. Big back with powerful frame which has allowed him to line up at several positions and perform at a high level. Deluxe ‘Swiss Army’ knife with natural skills and good overall athleticism. Fairly tall as runners go with good well-proportioned weight. All around performer who, during his NC State career, lined up one time or another at every offensive position other than the line. One of the most versatile and talented performers to come along in many years. He was used as a runner near the goal line. Very effective as a zone scheme runner from anywhere on the field. Showed the ability to be an effective lead blocker. Lined up wide as a receiver, or in the slot. Sometimes used as an inline Y tight end. Displayed fine power as a runner, to break tackles, whether taking handoffs or after the catch. At times, he can run too straight up which negates his power to make maximum yardage after contact. Reliable power runner when he keeps his pads down and a good short yardage and goal line back. Fine initial quickness with very good vision and also a fine stiff arm he uses effectively at times. On bubble screens, showed the juke ability to make the first man miss often with fine acceleration to take the ball and head upfield. As a receiver, he displays good hand-eye coordination and the body control to adjust and snare off line passes. Turns upfield after the catch to get nice yardage Field speed is better than track speed and he was able to make many big chunk yardage plays as a receiver or runner for the Wolfpack. Very effective on shovel passes when coming back inside from a TE position. Outstanding hands as a receiver, no matter where in the formation he lines up from. Goes up and plucks high throws or takes them off his shoe tops and secures them. Dynamic weapon on the jet sweep in the Wildcat, or at times taking a direct snap. The ACC even created an “all-purpose” category on their postseason all-conference team to fit a player with Samuels’ skill-set. Reads and follows his blocks well and displays enough lateral quickness to bounce runs outside and gain the edge.
The Numbers: For his career, he gained 1107 yards on 182 carries, 6.1 average and 28 TDs. Caught 201 passes for 1738 and 19 TDs. As a senior, he rushed for 407 yards on 78 attempts with 12 TDs and caught 59 passes for 480 yards and 4 TDs. In 2016, he rushed for 189 yards on just 33 attempts for a 5.7 yard average and 5 TDs with 55 catches for 565 yards and 7 TDs. At the NFL Combine, he came in at over 5’11” and 225 lbs. He ran a 4.54 time and did 18 reps, a 34.5” VL and a 10’1” BJ. Added a 4.28 shuttle and 6.93 three cone. Did well in the positional drills showing reliable hands.
The Skinny: Hard-nosed unique versatile performer with high grades as fullback/running back, tight end, H-back and slot receiver. Highly productive in those roles vs quality D1 competition. Short yardage back with strong leg drive between the tackles. Shows the ability to get the tough yardage and is a good goal line runner who seldom goes down on initial contact. As a blocker, he gained valuable experience in a pro set and showed the toughness to contain backers. Marginal top 100 prospect and one of the more underrated backs in this class. Good production with skills to be a fine change of pace runner and deluxe utility performer. Must be used properly by coach in an offense that features his versatile skill set. Fine short zone receiver.
Draft Projection: 3rd-4th Round
Frank Coyle is a longtime member of the FWAA and a voter for the Heisman Trophy, Outland Trophy, Bronko Nagurski, Jim Thorpe, Fred Biletnikoff and Eddie Robinson awards annually for 25 years. He was a 20 year Scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl.