Every draft it seems that there is a player who defies expectations and classic roles.
This year, that player is North Carolina State’s Jaylen Samuels. Samuels is listed as a tight end, but built like a running back, and was a primary pass catcher who lined up in every position in the offensive formation.
Over the last few years New York Giants’ offense suffered from a terminal lack of innovation and inability to disguise their intentions (or do much of anything other than what was completely expected). The team that drafts Jaylen Samuels will need a plan for how to use him, but could they look to a player who is very non-traditional to shake up their stagnant offense?
- Versatile weapon. Samuels can line up and play all over an offensive front.
- Reliable, and natural receiver.
- Solid burst turning upfield.
- Tough player. Fearless going over the middle, and willing to use his frame to get tough yardage.
- Lacks a defined role in the NFL.
- Doesn’t have “elite” or “match-up nightmare” size or athleticism.
- NFL future will likely depend heavily on offensive scheme.
What they’re saying
“SOURCES TELL US
“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.”
- NFC team area scout (via NFL.com)
Does He Fit The Giants?
At best, Jaylen Samuels is going to be a player that every NFL team will view differently. At worst, he will be something of an enigma to the league, and the NFL doesn’t like enigmas.
The problem comes from the fact that he doesn’t fit any NFL archetype. He is built like a running back, but didn’t play a traditional running back’s role. He was listed as a tight end, but at 5’11,” 223 pounds, there is no chance that he’ll be viewed as such by pro offenses. He played some snaps as a fullback, but hasn’t proven the ability to be a lead blocker at the next level.
All of that means that, if he doesn’t surprise in his pre-draft testing, Samuels will likely slip in the draft. However, that doesn’t mean that he won’t have a role at the next level.
He has the ability to become a quarterback’s best friend and an asset to a team that is willing to use him creatively. For a team that is willing to throw the ball, take what the defense gives them, use motion to expose coverages and pick the defense apart one play at a time, Samuels could find a big role. If he lands in a more traditional offense, Samuels could well find himself being considered a bust.
New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur has in the past made great use of receiving threats out of the backfield, and Samuels could well have a role on the team, but if the Giants are looking for more of an “every down” running back who can run the ball as well as receive, they might be best served looking elsewhere.