RB Jaylen Samuels - Pittsburgh Steelers

5-11, 223Born: 7-20-1996College: NC StateDrafted: Round 5, pick 2018

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Game Recaps

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.

2019 Week 10 vs LAR (14 / 29 / 0 rush, 7 / 3 / 11 / 0 rec)

There wasn't much room for Samuels to work at all during the day. Aaron Donald was routinely pushing the offensive line back and the Steelers were only able to average 1.6 yards per carry on the day. Samuels' best run came early in the game. The Steelers were using two pulling lineman to come across the formation and lead the way for Samuels. Samuels showed good patience and vision being able to follow his lineman and make the appropriate cut upfield. The play totaled eight yards and was the most rushing yards gained on a single play in the matchup.

2019 Week 11 vs CLE (5 / 26 / 0 rush, 6 / 5 / 19 / 1 rec)

Similar to the passing protection on the night, there wasn't much room for the rushing attack either. Samuels' best run of the night was up the middle. Samuels showed good explosion as he was picking his way through the center of the defense. Samuels did flash as a dual threat when he scored his touchdown on a route out of the backfield. When it looked like Mason Rudolph was about to take another sack, Rudolph spotted Samuels wide open.

2019 Week 12 vs CIN (2 / 6 / 0 rush, 3 / 3 / 26 / 0 rec)

Samuels saw his total touches drop precipitously in this contest. There was no creativity to his usage, In fact, he wasn't even used in the wild cat as a switch for the offense.

2019 Week 13 vs CLE (7 / 32 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 22 / 0 rec)

Samuels drew the start today for the Steelers and was more involved than Week 12 against the Bengals. Samuels was even used as a wildcat quarterback. On Samuels' first run of the game was a strong run up the middle of the line. Between the tackle running is not something Samuels often shows. Samuels' best reception of the day came on a floating pass out of the backfield. Samuels showed good explosion turning upfield quickly after the catch. 7-yard gain. Samuels' game was almost much bigger. He was tackled by his shoelaces on a run to the left side of the offensive line. Samuels caught a screen pass out of the backfield on a 1-15. Left completely alone and delivered a nice hit to a Browns defender at the end of the run. Samuels running strong. Samuels next touch two plays later was another strong run. Samuels lowered his shoulder for the second time on the same Browns defender and was able to keep his balance and extend the play for more yardage.

2019 Week 14 vs ARI (7 / 16 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 18 / 0 rec)

Samuels drew the start in Week 14 for the Steelers. He is one of three running backs in the NFL to lead their team in receptions. On his first touch Samuels took a swing pass in the flat and turned the reception upfield for an 18-yard gain. Samuels' best catch came on a one-handed catch on a terribly thrown pass. Samuels managed to keep the ball after receiving a monster hit.

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.