RB Jaylen Samuels - Pittsburgh Steelers
|5-11, 223||Born: 7-20-1996||College: NC State||Drafted: Round 5, pick 2018|
2019 Week 1 vs NE (2 / 4 / 0 rush, 2 / 1 / 2 / 0 rec)
Stepping in for Conner, Samuels showed he will be involved in the offense during the entire season. Samuels did not see entire drives until the end of the game, but was used at wide receiver, in two running back sets, and as a fill-in when Conner needed a breather.
2019 Week 2 vs SEA (3 / 18 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 13 / 0 rec)
Involved early to give James Conner a breather, Samuels looked explosive in the open field, reliable in the passing game, strong in pass protection, and able to be a playmaker downfield when the opportunity arises. Samuels notable play of the game will not show up in the box score. As he was being covered by a defender, Samuels worked downfield and went to make a play on the ball in the end zone. The defender did not turn around and Samuels was able to draw a defensive pass interference penalty putting the Steelers in position for their first touchdown of the game. It should be noted if James Conner is dealing with a knee injury which would lead to him missing time, Samuels will likely receive a larger workload. Benny Snell did not receive any additional work after James Conner was injured.
2019 Week 4 vs CIN (10 / 26 / 1 rush, 8 / 8 / 57 / 0 rec)
What a difference a week makes. Samuels went from having a 26% snap share in Week 3 to over 50% snap share in Week 4. Not only was Samuels on the field more often, but the Steelers rolled out the 'WILDCAT'. Samuels was being put in the shotgun for a direct snap and he would read the defense and decide if he would pull the ball down or run it himself. On top of the new Wildcat wrinkle being thrown into the Steelers offense, he also was productive as a runner and as a safety release. Ultimately, there was no highlight play standing out from Samuels performance. The highlight from Samuels' performance was his versatility. Samuels played the slot, was in at running back, and ran plays as a wildcat quarterback. Samuels is the swiss army knife of this offense.
2019 Week 5 vs BAL (3 / 2 / 0 rush, 4 / 3 / 11 / 0 rec)
After receiving 18 touch opportunities in Week 4 against the Cincinnati Bengals, Samuels' usage was pulled in significantly. This may not have been the game plan, but on the first play of the second possession for the Steelers, Samuels sprints out to his right and lobs a pass for James Washington which was intercepted. Samuels did not see another snap from the Wildcat formation until after Mason Rudolph exited the game.
2019 Week 9 vs IND (8 / 10 / 0 rush, 13 / 13 / 73 / 0 rec)
It can be considered a rough night for a running back when the running back totals ten yards rushing on eight total rushing attempts. Further, it could be even worse if one of those attempts was for six yards (leaving four total yards for the remaining seven attempts). Luckily, Samuels is as versatile as they come. While things were not working for him between the tackles, Samuels was running crisp routes, splitting out wide and being an outlet for Mason Rudolph when he was in trouble. Samuels did have one miscue. On a play with the ball in Samuels' hands, a defender was able to put his helmet on the ball and knock it lose. The ball was turned over and ultimately led to the Colts scoring a touchdown to put them up by one point.
2018 Week 8 vs CLE (4 / 17 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Late in the fourth quarter James Conner was spelled for almost an entire series. Samuels was inserted in the offense and was find good space to run. Samuels displayed on a seven-yard run good acceleration through the hole and leg drive at the end of the run. Stevan Ridley did not receive any rushing work and only two targets through the entire game.
2018 Week 9 vs BAL (1 / 2 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
The back-up running back situation is starting to shift for the Steelers. Samuels was seeing snaps to spell James Conner during pivotal moments of the game. Samuels only saw one rush attempt, but he also ran at least one other route while he was on the field.
2018 Week 10 vs CAR (5 / 7 / 0 rush, 4 / 3 / 22 / 1 rec)
One of the most important takeaways from this blowout victory was a better understanding of what happens if James Conner misses any time and Le'Veon Bell doesn't report back to the Steelers. Samuels is the clear second running back for the Steelers and can do some of the same things Conner can do. Samuels came in when things were well out of hand and stepped right in to Conner/Bell type of usage. Samuels' touchdown, in the fourth quarter when the game was out of hand, showed exactly when the Steelers drafted him. Samuels made a big target for Roethlisberger and got to top speed quickly to give himself of momentum to leap into the endzone.
2018 Week 13 vs LAC (2 / 5 / 0 rush, 3 / 3 / 20 / 1 rec)
Samuels came up for the Steelers in the most crucial situation of the game. James Conner injured his ankle and the Steelers needed a big play to tie the game. Samuels ran a shallow crossing route and broke the defender's angle on him. Samuels has stepped out as the next man up for the Steelers in the backfield.
2018 Week 14 vs OAK (11 / 28 / 0 rush, 7 / 7 / 64 / 0 rec)
With the loss of James Conner, Samuels was named the starting running back and received most of the running back touches in the game. Samuels attacked the Raiders defense differently depending on how he touched the ball. As a rusher, Samuels showed a smooth-running style and lacked vision between the tackles. As a receiver, Samuels was navigating traffic well and displayed better explosion through arm-tackles.
2018 Week 15 vs NE (19 / 142 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 30 / 0 rec)
The difference between Samuels in Week 14 versus Week 15 is apparent. Samuels displayed patience in following his blockers and an ability to run through arm tackles. Two of Samuels' best runs came on counter toss plays. The play took the Patriots from one side of the field all the way to the other side. The Patriots defense did not have enough speed to catch up and Samuels ran for 10+ yards both times. What makes Samuels' breakout even more impressive is his longest run being 25 yards. Samuels was routinely gashing the Patriots for long plays. Samuels highlight play of the game came in the fourth quarter. Ben Roethlisberger was flushed from the pocket and Samuels was on a scramble drill. Samuels found his way behind the line backer and converted a third down to keep the clock rolling in the fourth quarter.
2018 Week 16 vs NO (12 / 53 / 0 rush, 3 / 3 / 11 / 1 rec)
Samuels is giving the Steelers offense just enough of a rushing presence to remain respectable. It isn't being done with high volume, but rather efficiency, timeliness, and Samuels' ability to be multiple in their formations. With Samuels on the field, the Steelers showed more five receiver sets and Roethlisberger would be able to manipulate the coverage better with Samuels' ability to play receiver. Samuels' reliable hands were also on display. In the second quarter, Samuels capped a 15 play 97-yard touchdown drive, with an uncovered reception out of the backfield for the Steelers' first touchdown of the game. In the fourth quarter the Saints offense was trying to slow down the Steelers passing offense and were bringing a blitz. Before the ball was snapped Roethlisberger recognized the blitz and called an audible to a run play. Samuels ran hard up the middle of the Saints defense.
2018 Week 17 vs CIN (2 / 2 / 0 rush, 8 / 7 / 40 / 0 rec)
Even with James Conner back, Samuels still provided an additional option for the Steelers offense. When giving Conner a breather, Samuels was used primarily in the short passing game, where he works best. Samuels' best play of the day came out of the backfield in the shotgun. It was a short screen pass to Samuels, but he followed his blockers perfectly and allowed things to set up ahead of him.