Is Jaylen Samuels Really the RB to Watch for 2019?

Jaylen Samuels is listed as a running back for the Steelers in 2018. And as he is behind both Le’Veon Bell and James Connor (and possibly Fitzgerald Toussaint), one may expect him to be irrelevant in 2018. But, Samuels could manage to see the field a lot more than many expect. This is because as a RB/FB/TE/WR in college, he managed to accrue 195 catches over the last three years. This was 1st amongst both RBs and TEs in that times span. Impressive.

Samuels needs to be tried and tested this year. I expect the team to have him as the 3rd-string RB, though I have full confidence he will line up at WR in 2018. Furthermore, Samuels may be the backup 3rd-down back, and even with a steady rotations of pure WRs, Samuels could see some time in the slot. I expect him to see decent levels of production, and hope to see newly appointed OC Randy Fitchner to utilize him as much as possible.

As a fifth round draft pick, the Steelers may not expect much from Samuels just yet. But in 2019, if Bell is gone, he could be a very solid piece of the rotation used to replace Bell. He could be the perfect receiving back to complement the hard-nosed, downhill runner in James Connor. Samuels success (or lack thereof), primarily in the passing game, will have a strong impact on the Steelers’ draft decisions next year. If he does well, the Steelers can wait, and address other needs first. If he doesn’t impress, expect the Steelers to go RB in the first or second.

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