NFL Draft

Evaluating The Value: NC State RB Jaylen Samuels

The Steelers sure do love versatility, don’t they?

With their second pick in the fifth round, the Steelers grabbed Swiss Army knife, Jaylen Samuels, out of North Carolina State.

Samuels is currently listed as a tight end, but make no mistake:  he’s a running back with serious third-down potential.

He’s too heavy to be a receiver, too light to be a fullback, and too short to be a tight end, but Samuels can do it all. He’ll likely be the No. 3 running back for the Steelers behind Le’Veon Bell and James Conner when all is said and done.

Samuels isn’t a great route runner, but he’s very good at contested catches, and has above-average vision as a runner, which is a major positive, considering he plays all over.

At this point in the draft, it’s good value for the Steelers, considering they get a guy who can fill a number of roles on the roster, while only taking up just one roster spot. That’s huge.

I’m curious to see if Samuels slots in as the kick returner right away. He returned just nine kicks last season (12 for his career), so he’s not overly experienced in that area, but I could see this being as much of a Danny Smith pick, as it was a James Saxon/Randy Fitchner pick.

Dane Brugler had Samuels as the No. 1 fullback/H-back in the class, with a 3rd-4th round grade on him. Steelers got him near the end of the fifth.

He’s what Brugler had to say about Samuels:  Samuels has an intriguing mix of quickness, power and balance and although he lacks a true position, his versatility can be a valuable weapon if paired with a NFL play-caller that understands his strengths.”

Samuels set the North Carolina State school record for career receptions with 202 and ranks second in school history in total touchdowns (47), fourth in touchdown catches (19) and sixth in touchdown runs (28). He had 10 runs of 20 yards or longer in college and 13 receptions of 25 yards or longer and dressed for and played in 52 of 52 possible games over the course of four seasons at North Carolina State.

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