Film Study: Jaylen Samuels Displays His Versatility Against The Titans

Written by: Kelly Anozie

He is not a receiver but possesses receiver-like hands. He is not necessarily a running back but possessed the type of vision and quickness needed for the position. When it comes to rookie Jaylen Samuels, it would not seem appropriate to categorize him positionally, but as the Tennessee Titans found out, no matter where you place him, he can produce. When Samuels was drafted, many wondering how he would be used as part of offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner. After his performance Saturday, he showed everyone that he can be utilized in a multitude of ways.

Improved Downhill Running

Samuels is what I refer to as a ‘sideline runner’. From what I viewed from his college film and in his preseason games, his first direction is generally towards the sidelines before cutting upfield. My gripe with Samuel has always been his reluctance to run straight downhill before cutting outside; however, this clip displayed his willingness to change this habit. Samuel is seen at the halfback position with Roosevelt Nix at the fullback position. Note the block by Nix after the ball is snapped, followed by the complementary block by receiver Marcus Tucker. Samuels is handed off the ball and runs straight before cutting to his right for a big gain. In my opinion, for Samuels needs to adopt this style of running in order to be perceived as a viable option at running back.


Pass Catching Ability

Samuels is arguably the best receiving back on the Steelers roster. Next to All-Pro running back Le’veon Bell, he is one of the few backs that can align at different areas (notably at slot receiver), run good routes and catch the ball in open field. In this sequence, Samuel motions and aligns at the slot left wide receiver spot. When the ball is snapped, rookie quarterback Mason Rudolph delays and finds Samuel open. After receiving the ball, Samuels is able to turn upfield and dive past the first down marker. In reviewing this clip, the designed play should have been a  screen pass to the left side, as both guard Matt Feiler and center BJ Finney broke off to set up pass protection on that side. Either way, this clip displays his soft hands and his ability to gain yards after the catch.


A Combination of Skills

When Samuels is able to get the best of both his running and receiving skills, the result is what happens in this sequence. Samuels is seen positioned at the right halfback position. From the snap, Samuel delay in the middle and receives the pass from Rudolph. From this point, Samuels makes a beautiful cut causing the Titans cornerback and linebacker to miss, puts on a few more moves before diving into the end zone. This was the type of plays he was known for at NC State as he is able to use his full arsenal of skills on this play.


As a runner, Samuels still has much work to do, but it is encouraging to see his development materialize in games, even if it is preseason. As a receiver, Samuels is already one of the best on the roster at his position and this will only get better with time. Altogether, if Samuels can become as proficient a runner as he is a receiver, he is likely to see increased playing time during the season, and more opportunities to establish himself as an important asset to the offense.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *