2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Jaylen Samuels

  • Jaylen Samuels, 5-11/223

  • Running Back

  • N.C. State

  • Jaylen Samuels Scouting Report
    By Charlie Campbell

  • Dynamic receiving back
  • Instinctive, natural receiver
  • Excellent route runner
  • Soft hands
  • Sudden out of breaks
  • Red-zone threat
  • Goal-line back
  • Has a nose for the end zone
  • Thick build
  • Quick feet
  • Elusive in the open field
  • Will power the ball for tough yards
  • Finishes runs well
  • Dynamic receiving back
  • Superb third-down back
  • Could be a nice contributor on special teams
  • Durable
  • Athletic upside

  • Weaknesses:
  • Could use more development as a traditional tailback
  • Will need to improve blocking for the NFL
  • Quicker than fast
  • Lacks elite speed

  • Summary: Over the past few years, Samuels was one of the best kept secrets in college football as an offensive play-maker. One of the reasons Samuels has flwon under the radar is he was listed as a tight end and fullback during his collegiate career. For the NFL, Samuels will have to move to running back as he doesn’t have the size for tight end and would be wasted as a fullback. Samuels is a play-maker who consistently produces big plays for his offense. He is a great fit for the passing-driven NFL.

    Samuels showed his versatility in 2015, catching 65 passes for 597 yards and seven touchdowns while also toting 56 carries, averaging 6.6 yards per attempt, for 368 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground. As a junior, Samuels snagged 55 receptions for 565 yards and seven touchdowns. He also had 33 carries for 189 yards and six scores. In his senior year, N.C. State lined him up all over the place and sought to get him the ball in a variety of ways. Samuels had 76 receptions for 597 yards and four touchdowns in 2017. On the ground, he averaged 5.2 yards per carry for 403 yards and 12 touchdowns.

    As a receiving back for the NFL, Samuels is phenomenal. He is a quick receiver who runs excellent routes and has soft hands. Samuels is dangerous and carves up coverage in the underneath part of the field. He is a dynamic mismatch weapon against linebackers and safeties. With his versatility, Samuels can run routes from a variety of places. He did that in college and will be able to in the NFL. Samuels could line up as an H-back, traditional tailback, fullback, slot receiver, or even line up next to the line as an undersized tight end. He is very dangerous on quick slants, crosses, outs, and wheel routes. Samuels also is phenomenal on screens in the flat. He has a quick burst to get upfield and is elusive with the ball in his hands. Defenders really struggle to run with Samuels, as he is a real mismatch problem running routes against linebackers and safeties. In a offense like Andy Reid’s or Sean Payton’s, Samuels could be deadly.

    As a halfback, Samuels is a quick cutter who has a burst to get to the second level. He is an elusive runner who will zigzag around tacklers. Samuels has subtle quickness with the ability to break off some chunk runs as he can dart to the second level. At over 220 pounds, Samuels is also put together well with the ability to lower his shoulder and power through defenders. In short-yardage and goal-line situations, Samuels is an asset as he possesses a real nose for the end zone.

    As a pro, any quarterback or offensive coordinator is going to love to have Samuels. He is going to be a real mismatch weapon as a receiver out of the backfield. He also can take carries and run up the middle, so Samuels will present a lot of problems for defenses when they are spread out defending a passing-driven offense. Once Samuels develops his blocking, he could be a three-down starter in a passing-driven offense. Samuels may never be the kind of back who logs 300-plus carries in a season, but he could end up getting 20-30 touches per game as a receiver and runner.

    In this analyst’s opinion and in speaking to team sources, Samuels is one of the hidden gems of the 2018 NFL Draft. He could be a high impact player as a second- or third-round pick who makes a lot of teams regret passing on him.

    Player Comparison: Brian Westbrook. In speaking with team sources, they compared Samuels to Westbrook. Over an excellent career in Philadelphia, Westbrook was a true dual-threat, hurting defenses as a runner and receiver. Samuels’ game is very similar to Westbrook. Westbrook was a third-round pick in the 2002 NFL Draft, and Samuels also could go in that range.

    NFL Matches: Cleveland, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland, Detroit, San Francisco and Indianapolis

    There are a lot of teams that could consider taking Samuels on the second day or in the mid-rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft. The Browns could move on from Isaiah Crowell and could use a feature back in their offense. Samuels could make sense for one of their second-day picks.

    In the Big Apple, the Giants could use a feature back for their offense, and Samuels would give them a backfield receiving weapon they haven’t had. The Jets also will have to replace Matt Forte before long, and Samuels’ receiving ability would make him a perfect replacement for Forte. Samuels could be a nice complement to Bilal Powell.

    Oakland badly needs more consistency from its rushing offense. Predictably, Marshawn Lynch was a disappointment after coming out of retirement. The Raiders need a true feature back to go with Derek Carr. Samuels’ receiving ability would be a great fit for Jon Gruden. Gruden really loved and wanted Brian Westbrook coming out of Villanova in 2002.

    Similarly, the Colts could use a running back of the future to pair with Andrew Luck and bring a more steady rushing attack to their offense.

    For years now, the Lions have had one-dimensional offense with one of the worst rushing attacks in the league. Detroit needs a true No. 1 back to bring some balance to its offense. Considering what the Lions have in Theo Riddick and Ameer Abdullah, Samuels might not be a good fit for that organization.

    San Francisco could use a receiving back for Kyle Shanahan’s offense. That is the kind of back Shanahan likes and prefers. Samuels would be a perfect fit for the 49ers.


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