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The Peculiar Jaylen Samuels

NC State’s Jaylen Samuels really intrigues me. His versatility is a true personification of what NFL teams are looking for in the modern era. Guys who can do a bit of everything seem to be enamored as offenses evolve.

He’s 5’11”, 223 pounds, and will be participating in the NFL Combine as a Tight End. However, he also frequently plays as a Running Back, and a Wide Receiver. He truly lines up everywhere, and has the stats to show it:

Any player that has 76 rushing attempts, 76 receptions, 16 TDs and over 1,000 yards from scrimmage in one season has my attention. He also had 19 return attempts and 3 passing attempts.

It’s so easy for me to picture him being a moveable chess piece in an offense. We see so many screens and jet sweeps these days, and that is something Samuels thrives on.

He can make contested catches, stretching the field. He can truck a defender, he can high point contested grabs, and he can block. He looks truly natural in every aspect of the game. He could easily be used as an RB despite declaring as a TE.

So, what’s my concern? I’m not sure how he’ll be used. I think he could thrive for fantasy if drafted by a creative offensive coordinator, however, it could take quite a while for someone to fit him into a consistent role. He’s a little undersized to be a Tight End, so I find it quite strange that he chose that option. To me, he has so much value as an RB. He’s a great receiver, he has strength, speed, vision, and a fantastic ability to find the red zone. Combined with his ability to block; he ticks all of the RB boxes. One NFC scout said, “Here is the problem I’m having in writing my report. Does he have any special talent or is he just a player who is used in a variety of roles? Is he really, really good at any of his roles or just versatile? That can be the difference between going in the third round or the fifth round.”

No-one would look at this play

…and think “That’s a TE”. I wonder if he chose to declare as a TE as this draft is beginning to look quite deep at RB, whilst there’s only a couple of top end TE options. Therefore, he could have a better opportunity to get drafted higher. I’ve noticed a rising number of shovel passes in the game lately. Big Ben constantly throws little shovels to LeVeon and Jesse James. Perhaps teams are looking for guys who can take those and break off 30 yards?

I find it very difficult to compare him to any particular player, given his unique skill set. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein noted, “Some may see Samuels as a valuable hybrid talent, while others may see a player who offers roster flexibility but lacks a position where he can win consistently. Samuels isn’t a tight end and has to prove he can handle blocking duties well enough to be a fullback. He will, however, appeal to teams looking to disguise their attacks with more diversified personnel groupings. Samuels best fit may be with a zone-scheme team as an RB/FB with the ability to play slot receiver.” Therefore, the closest thing I can come up with is a slightly stockier Ty Montgomery. His role is peculiar, but we don’t see prospects like this too often. Watch his Combine very closely.

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