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Contextualizing Jaylen Samuels’ 2017 Season Receptions At North Carolina State

It’s been a few months now since the Pittsburgh Steelers selected running back Jaylen Samuels in the fifth-round of the 2018 NFL Draft and yet I still see him mischaracterized by several writers and bloggers. This is happening because they refuse to watch Samuels’ tape in lieu of just regurgitating bad information they’ve read elsewhere.

In an effort to help you see just what kind of receiving option Samuel’s really is as he enters the NFL, I have contextualized for you all 76 of his receptions that he had last season at North Carolina State. If you read the table below and watch several of the linked plays, you will clearly see that Samuels is not yet a premier receiving option like he’s being billed by many as he enters the NFL. In reality, Samuels is just another average pass catching running back who lined up all over the place in the North Carolina State offense. He’s not a true tight end, fullback or h-back as he was very rarely asked to block from those positions during his entire college career. Don’t confuse lining up at those positions with actually being able to play them.

Of Samuels’ 76 total receptions last season, 45 were caught behind the original line of scrimmage. Additionally, only 16 of his receptions came more than 5 yards past the line of scrimmage and 13 of those consisted of him lining up in the slot. Because of these two sets of stats, you should know that Samuels is not a very polished route runner. His routes north of the line of scrimmage general included him running short hitches, comebacks and vertical seams. An occasional flare out and speed out were also run last season.

Samuels was used a ton in 2017 as part of designed screen plays either as a slot wide receiver, an h-back, a lone running back, or lined up outside wide.

15 of Samuels’ receptions were him getting a short pitch from the quarterback as part of either a shovel pass or end-around. Samuels’ average target distance on his 76 receptions was a very dismal 1.11 yards. However, it’s worth noting that 513 of his 597 total receiving yards came after the catch.

OPP QRT TIME DWN DIST LOS YDS PDIST YAC DIR ALGN CONTEXT
SC 1 12:44 3 9 NCST 41 10 10 0 3 SL MOF curl
SC 1 11:42 4 2 SC 41 5 -4 9 3 LHB Hback screen to right
SC 1 2:12 3 2 NCST 47 7 2 5 4 LHB Screen to right
SC 1 1:00 2 6 SC 13 11 10 1 3 SL Delayed seam left side out of bunch
SC 2 14:39 1 10 NCST 24 8 -4 12 2 SL WR screen left
SC 2 14:25 2 2 NCST 32 6 2 4 1 SL Short hitch left side
SC 2 0:22 2 18 SC 34 6 4 2 4 SR Short hitch right side
SC 3 14:51 1 10 NCST 25 8 6 2 3 SL Short hitch left side
SC 3 7:36 3 3 NCST 20 5 4 1 2 SL Short hitch left side
SC 3 3:11 1 10 NCST 21 -2 -4 2 3 SR End around pitch forward
SC 4 12:21 4 1 SC 1 1 2 -1 4 RB RB flair out TD
SC 4 11:10 1 10 NCST 31 7 -4 11 2 SL WR screen to left
SC 4 5:14 2 10 SC 40 5 -3 8 4 SR WR screen to right
SC 4 4:34 4 5 SC 35 4 6 -2 1 SL Short out right to left
SC 4 2:01 2 10 SC 49 4 4 0 3 SL Short hitch left side
MAR 1 6:23 1 10 NCST 35 0 -4 4 3 SL End around pitch forward
MAR 2 13:56 2 10 NCST 38 -1 -1 0 3 LHB Hback screen to right
MAR 2 5:01 1 10 NCST 32 -1 -6 5 4 SL Check down to right side
MAR 2 2:05 2 9 MRSH 39 39 22 17 5 RHB Trick play to sideline wheel route
MAR 3 14:54 1 10 MID 50 23 23 0 1 RHB Sideline wheel from RHB
FUR 1 9:53 1 10 NCST 25 3 -6 9 4 LHB Hback screen to left
FUR 1 3:22 3 7 NCST 43 17 17 0 3 SL Deep post MOF
FUR 2 12:12 2 6 FUR 38 12 -4 16 3 SR End around pitch forward
FUR 2 12:12 1 10 FUR 26 20 19 1 3 LHB Deep seam MOF
FUR 2 2:29 1 10 FUR 45 5 4 1 3 SL Short hitch left side
FUR 3 15:00 3 7 NCST 28 18 15 3 3 SR Post MOF from slot
FSU 1 11:22 1 10 FSU 48 7 -2 9 2 RHB Shovel pass
FSU 1 10:06 2 16 FSU 3 2 1 3 LHB Hback screen to right
FSU 1 9:28 3 13 FSU 36 27 -4 31 2 SL WR screen to left
FSU 2 11:34 3 2 NCST 33 0 0 0 3 LHB Hback screen to right
FSU 2 6:15 2 10 NCST 17 -6 -5 -1 2 SL WR screen to left
FSU 2 2:36 2 3 NCST 27 4 -3 7 4 SR WR screen to right
FSU 3 14:07 2 11 NCST 20 3 -3 6 4 SR WR screen to right
FSU 3 10:55 1 10 NCST 27 2 -5 7 4 LRB RB check down to right
FSU 3 2:42 3 11 NCST 45 5 -4 9 2 LRB RB screen to left
FSU 4 12:36 1 10 NCST 40 8 0 8 5 LHB Hback screen to right
FSU 4 9:16 2 6 FSU 14 14 -2 16 3 RTE Shovel pass
FSU 4 3:40 3 7 NCST 44 -3 -4 1 3 RHB Shovel pass
SYR 1 15:00 2 10 NCST 35 10 -3 13 4 SR WR screen to right
SYR 3 2:28 1 10 NCST 29 2 3 -1 3 SL Short hitch left side
SYR 4 14:54 1 10 NCST 35 1 -4 5 2 SL WR screen to left
SYR 4 14:54 1 10 SYR 20 19 -3 22 4 SR WR screen to right
SYR 4 6:06 3 13 NCST 12 5 -7 12 3 LRB RB screen to left
LOU 1 10:18 2 4 NCST 46 11 -4 15 2 SL WR screen to left
LOU 1 9:23 1 10 LOU 10 0 -2 2 3 LHB Shovel pass
LOU 2 13:20 1 10 NCST 41 7 -5 12 3 LHB HB screen to left
LOU 2 6:39 2 6 NCST 13 79 6 73 3 SR Short hitch right side
LOU 3 13:10 1 10 NCST 39 3 -5 8 2 SL WR screen to left
LOU 3 12:34 2 7 NCST 42 7 -3 10 4 SR WR screen right
LOU 3 9:45 3 13 LOU 14 -3 -3 0 3 SR WR screen right
PIT 1 14:35 1 10 NCST 35 12 5 7 3 SL Option route from slot
PIT 2 0:36 1 10 PITT 12 3 -4 7 3 SL End around pitch forward
PIT 2 0:36 2 7 PITT 9 5 -3 8 3 RHB Hback screen to left
PIT 3 0:49 2 6 NCST 31 8 5 3 3 SR Short hitch right side
ND 1 1:32 3 14 NCST 25 18 18 0 3 SR Deep in-breaking route from right slot
ND 3 5:00 2 8 NCST 44 3 -1 4 4 RB RB screen to right side
CLM 2 10:02 2 10 CLEM 10 3 -2 5 3 SL Shovel pass
CLM 2 9:29 3 7 CLEM 7 7 6 1 1 SL Short hitch left side
CLM 3 13:40 2 10 NCST 39 -4 -4 0 2 LWR WR screen to left side
BC 1 8:55 3 6 NCST 46 12 11 1 1 SL Speed out to left
BC 2 8:46 2 10 BC 23 4 -4 8 3 SL Shovel pass
BC 3 8:13 3 9 NCST 23 10 9 1 4 SL Crosser from left slot
WF 1 15:00 3 4 NCST 31 5 -2 7 1 LWR WR screen to left side
WF 1 2:35 1 10 NCST 25 7 -2 9 1 LWR WR screen to left side
WF 3 9:26 1 10 NCST 20 5 -4 9 3 SL End around pitch forward
WF 4 7:58 1 10 WAKE 44 6 -4 10 3 SR End around pitch forward
NC 1 13:24 1 17 UNC 22 8 -4 12 3 LWR End around pitch forward
NC 3 9:38 1 0 UNC 17 8 1 7 3 LHB Hback screen to right
NC 4 8:16 2 17 NCST 43 6 -3 9 2 SL WR screen to left
ASU 1 7:50 2 8 NCST 44 3 -4 7 4 RHB Hback screen to right
ASU 2 1:20 3 11 ASU 37 12 12 0 4 SLR Comeback right side
ASU 3 14:35 2 1 NCST 34 2 -4 6 3 SLR End around pitch forward
ASU 3 13:45 2 5 NCST 41 0 -4 4 4 SLR WR screen to right
ASU 3 9:20 2 10 ASU 13 4 -4 8 3 SLL End around pitch forward
ASU 3 4:58 3 16 NCST 14 21 20 1 3 SLR Deep post MOF
ASU 4 5:00 1 7 ASU 7 4 0 4 4 LHB Hback screen to right
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