This is Charlie Campbell and Andrew Scavelli's interview with N.C. State tight end/fullback Jaylen Samuels. They are reporting live from Mobile, Ala., and will be posting interviews throughout the week.
One of the most versatile players in college football during 2017 was N.C. State tight end/fullback Jaylen Samuels. Samuels notched 76 receptions for 597 yards and four touchdowns for the year. On the ground, he averaged 5.2 yards per carry for 403 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Samuels is a unique prospect for the next level. The senior was listed as a tight end, played some H-back, took carries out of the backfield, and also was split out wide. In speaking with scouts, they like Samuels, and some think that his best fit would come as a third-down running back. They believe he has really good hands, is a nice receiver, and could also run the rock in those situations. They think that Samuels could be tried as a fullback as well. Samuels is a good route-runner with subtle quickness and athleticism that makes him a mismatch weapon.
Walter Football's Senior Draft Analyst Charlie Campbell and Senior Bowl Reporter Andrew Scavelli spoke with Samuels on Tuesday in Mobile.
Talk about your style of play and your versatility?
"I'll just say athletic; a guy that can do it all - catch, run block and just make plays whenever the ball comes to me."
What do you hope to accomplish at the Senior Bowl?
"I just want to get the heads turning with the coaches and GMs, and get my draft stock to rise hopefully after this week. I just want to go out there and compete, and have fun at the same time. There's a lot of great guys here who are going somewhere too. I'm just ready to have fun and excited for this opportunity."
Do you think playing tight end and fullback in college helped prepare you to have a versatile role?
"It definitely helped me preparing for this role and being able to know what [assignments] the players around me have and knowing what the running back is doing at the same time. I was learning a lot of different positions in one meeting, so that's how that was [at N.C. State]."
How do you feel your blocking ability progressed in college?
"My blocking is improving, but it still needs a lot more improvement to come. That's one of my weaknesses and that's the main thing I'm trying to work on as I prepare for this next level. Just working on pass blocking is probably going to be the main thing. If I'm in the game at running back and need to pick up a blitz, that's what I need to work on and be aware of."
Do you feel natural running in between the tackles?
"I do. I got a lot of experience at that in the backfield this year, more than I did the past couple of years, so I got more comfortable running in between the tackles and trying to make guys miss in the hole."
How was it like to go up against your own front seven in practice?
"It was definitely competitive every day; that was a great group of guys. I think they made me better as a player and a person. It was fun."
What growth have you seen from your backfield partner Nyheim Hines?
"He grew as a player as time went by. He came in as a freshman and kind of did the same thing that I did. He kind of shared the same abilities that I have, and he can do a lot. He can play receiver, and then he moved to a true running back and had a heck of a year rushing for over 1,000 yards. He's a great football player."
Which teams have shown the most interest in you in Mobile thus far?
"The Lions, Saints, Bills, Steelers and Panthers showed a lot of interest in me, so we'll see how this process goes. They talked to me about being a true running back really and then turning myself into a third-down back and being able to split out and catch passes as well."