Monday morning our very own Matthew Marczi wrote about Pittsburgh Steelers rookie running back Jaylen Samuels and specifically about how we didn’t glean any information about the team’s second of two fifth-round selections this year over the weekend. Well, as if right on cue, steelers.com posted an interview with Samuels Monday afternoon that seemingly took place during the team’s recently concluded rookie minicamp.
“It’s going good right now,” Samuels told Teresa Varley over the weekend when asked to give his thoughts on how rookie minicamp was going. “It’s pretty fun to get back out here, do what I love doing. Getting used to the playbook, get used to the fast pace tempo in practices.”
Samuels, who was used in various different ways on offense during his four seasons at North Carolina State that culminated with him having registered 1,103 yards rushing and 1,855 yards receiving, told Varley over the weekend that the Steelers are currently using him just as he was used in college and that “they’ve got me playing a lot of different positions out here.”
“Right now they got me in the backfield, running the ball as well. Also in the slot, moving around, playing outside receiver,” Samuels told Varley. “So, pretty much same thing I was doing in college. Just trying to find ways to get me the ball and I’m up for the task and I’m just ready to get to work.”
Samuels was credited with 202 total receptions during his college career at North Carolina State and if you’ve watched a large selection of his tape from the last four seasons, you know that a good portion of those were catches made well past the line of scrimmage. Samuels was asked by Varley over the weekend if his route running is something that he takes a lot of pride in as he enters the NFL.
“I love route running,” Samuels said. “I like to get the details in the routes and just beat people in open space and I’ve been doing that all my life. I still got work to do and that’s what practice is for. So I’m out here to get better.”
Because he wasn’t ultimately drafted until the fifth-round after putting up some very impressive offensive stats in college, in addition to playing in 52 consecutive games, Samuels admitted to Varley that it was indeed “tough” for him to wait so long before his name was called and that he felt “disrespected” by that. Because of that, he admitted that he enters the NFL with the proverbial chip on his shoulder.
“Yeah, its a little chip on my shoulder, but, you know, I just can’t wait to get back out here,” Samuels said.
Samuels went on to say that he’s carried around that proverbial chip on his shoulder for quite a while and he believes it has been valuable to him during his career just the same.
“I’ve had a chip on my shoulder all my life,” Samuels told Varley. “I’ve always been underestimated all my life, even coming into college. So, I mean that’s a little bit of motivation for me.”
I am still compiling and contextualizing Samuels’ total pass targets from his 2017 season just as I did with his rushes. As soon as I finish that project, it should give everyone a really good idea as to the various and sometimes creative ways he was used at North Carolina State. The biggest unknown when it comes to Samuels’ transition into the NFL revolves around whether or not he can block on the move in the running game and as a pass protector as he just wasn’t asked to do either very much during his college career.