Jaylen Samuels, RB
School: North Carolina State | Conference: ACC
College Experience: Senior | Age: 22?
Height / Weight: 5-11 / 225 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 4th Round
NFL Comparison: Spencer Ware
Jaylen Samuels was a 3-star prospect from Charlotte, North Carolina and was originally recruited as a fullback though he did play running back, wide receiver and tight end in high school. The NC State coaches saw that versatility and asked Samuels to do a lot of things in college as well. Samuels was most notably listed as a tight end at the combine and he did play that position in college, his coach calls him an H-back, he runs out of the backfield, he lines up in the slot he pretty much did whatever NC State asked him. He is far and away one of the more versatile players in this draft. The debate around him usually focuses on what is his fit at the NFL level. Some will argue that Samuels needs to go to a team with a creative offensive coordinator. Since he is a player who could be effective at a number of positions it would be important to use him as the versatile weapon that he is and just find ways to get the ball in his hands. The counter-argument is that he is yet another ‘tweener’ a player without a true position and that he is a jack of all trades master of none. My position is that Samuels is a running back capable of being effective in a rotation and carrying a full load. He is also so versatile that catching out of the backfield or even lining up in the slot should be no problem for him.
- Good size, strength, speed, and toughness for the running back position.
- Versatile player that can do a lot of good things and be moved all over the field if asked. Can run out of the backfield and in between the tackles aided by his size and he can take it outside and cut upfield using his speed.
- Natural hands and has good ability to adjust to the ball in the air. Has caught passes out of the backfield from the tight end position and in the slot.
- Special teams experience as a returner.
- Suffers from concentration drops when he looks to get upfield before he secures the ball.
- Will have to prove he can carry the load as a running back and improve his pass protection. And for some offenses may have to prove that he can thrive at one spot instead of multiple.
- Cutting and short area quickness/wiggle look labored.
- Route running needs work.
Let's see his work:
Jaylen Samuels is a RB. Built like one, played like one, runs routes like one (i.e. not very good), did Senior Bowl as one. Told me in Indy every NFL team he met with considered him a RB, no team mentioned another position.— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) March 30, 2018
Jaylen Samuels can line up at tight end, slot receiver or running back. Here’s Samuels as a receiver. Look at the vision and the jets to turn up field. pic.twitter.com/Tr56BKLDR8— Cameron Parker (@CameronParkerPO) February 18, 2018
Not sure where NC State Jaylen Samuels is going to play in the NFL but a creative offense will find a way to utilize him. Plucks this one and is already turning upfield with a plan. pic.twitter.com/g74rNRyoHm— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) February 13, 2018
Jaylen Samuels: The Running Back Edition II.— Cagen Cantrell (@CeeingTheDraft) January 27, 2018
I love how he trust his vision, no wasted effort. Athleticism doing the rest. pic.twitter.com/zRy0Dt1y6I
Jaylen Samuels: the Running Back edition.— Cagen Cantrell (@CeeingTheDraft) January 26, 2018
He's such a natural talent. pic.twitter.com/O88SAjoG8i
How He Would Fit On The Redskins
Jaylen Samuels has the versatile skillset I think the Redskins might be looking to add in the draft this year if you take the staffs comments about upgrading the position for face value. He doesn't have elite athleticism but he can do a lot of things well and if put in the right offense can become a reliable and key offensive weapon. He reminds me of Corey Clement a bit and how the Eagles started to use him in different situations as the season progressed. Samuels may not have an immediate impact as he will need some time to get acclimated and improve his skills especially as a pass blocker and route runner. I think he has the durability to handle a majority of the rushing snaps but incorporating him into a running back rotation should work well too. Offensive coordinators who adjust concepts, schemes, and plays to highlight players strengths should be excited about how they could use a mid-round player like Samuels. He could work in Washington but if Jay Gruden is still calling the plays (is he this year?) then I’m not sure the style of the running game will change much from what it was before. If that is the case I feel Samuels may never reach his true potential if his skill set isn't featured in some aspects of the offense. I may be too harsh on Gruden here though as he has come up with some creative things in the past. I don’t view Samuels as a gimmick player and on most downs, he’s on the field he should be running the ball. If the Redskins draft him though they would be wise to highlight his talents all over the field.