The Pittsburgh Steelers have added an intriguing offensive weapon. Pittsburgh selected former North Carolina State tight end Jaylen Samuels with the No. 165 overall pick in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
2018 NFL Draft: Jaylen Samuels taken by Pittsburgh Steelers
Samuels enters the NFL without a defined position. He was listed as a tight end, but he did that and so much more while at NC State. He played running back, tight end and slot receiver in college, but does not have the traits to translate to any of those positions in the league.
Still, versatility is important, and his athleticism gives him a chance to find a role in the Steelers offense.
The Charlotte, N.C. native was the 10th-ranked tight end in the draft and projected a fourth-rounder, according to NFL.com. At the NFL combine, Samuels clocked a 4.54 40-yard dash, benched 225 pounds 18 times and posted 34.5 inches and 121 inches in the vertical and broad jump. He also logged a 6.93-second 3-cone drill and a 4.28 20-yard shuttle.
“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,” NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein wrote in his draft profile. “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 a RB/FB with the ability to play slot receiver and become a core special teamer.”
Samuels’ fit in the NFL may be unknown for the time being, but he was a superstar with the Wolfpack. Over his four-year career, he hauled in 201 catches for 1,851 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also rushed for 1,107 yards and 28 touchdowns on 182 carries.
His 47 touchdowns from scrimmage are tied for ninth in ACC history with North Carolina’s Leon Johnson.
NFL Network draft analyst Charles Davis called Samuels a roster saver because he can get you out of a game at so many different positions in a pinch, and that’s exactly why the Steelers drafted him. Versatility and the chance to get him on the field with Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster and company should lead to plenty of opportunities to make plays for the Steelers.