Rookie minicamp isn’t necessarily the most revealing time of the NFL season, but you do learn a little bit. It’s your first taste of new players, and what you see and hear from this time of year could at least give some indication about what the team is thinking.
For the Pittsburgh Steelers, the one player we didn’t get to hear from, or about, over the rookie minicamp weekend that I really would have liked to was fifth-round draft choice Jaylen Samuels, who in college was a Swiss Army knife.
I would have been very interested to learn about how he was used over the course of the three days, even if the Steelers did have running backs coach James Saxon come out to talk about the pick during the draft, indicating that they see him as a running back.
Head Coach Mike Tomlin was more open in speaking about him after the draft, saying that his future role or roles would be determined. And, partially because of relatively limited roster sizes, teams are generally not shy about using players in a variety of roles during rookie minicamp.
Did the Steelers use Samuels in different roles? There were four tight ends on the team’s minicamp roster, even if that doesn’t sound like much. And that does include the international exception player, who is working on converting from playing rugby.
I’m sure that he got some receiving work, since that is par for the course for running backs at this point. But did he work on receiving drills exclusively with the running backs, or did he get any opportunities to mix in with the wide receivers as well?
I know it’s not exactly urgent, and we are very early on in the process, but the reality is that rookie minicamp is the only thing we have right now in terms of the ability to gather information, and if the Steelers were moving Samuels around, then that would at least confirm that they were open to utilizing him as a versatile piece.
We got to hear from Terrell Edmunds over the weekend, for example, who told reporters that he worked some at linebacker, though he said that he couldn’t really say more than that about it and that any more information to be divulged was up to Tomlin to tell.
He also told us a bit about Marcus Allen, and we heard from James Washington about himself and his teammate, Mason Rudolph. We didn’t get to hear from or about Samuels, or Chukwuma Okorafor, or Joshua Frazier, though the latter two have more straightforward responsibilities.
The fifth-rounder—the second of two—is still something of an enigma following the conclusion of rookie minicamp. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who would have liked to have gleaned a bit more information about him over the weekend.