2018 Raiders Draft Prospect
Name: Jaylen Samuels
School: NC State
Weight: 223 pounds
First, Samuels runs with an even glide. His steps appear smooth and effortless when picking a hole. Next, Samuels recognizes situational awareness. That is to say, when the need surfaces, he will shorten his stride and drop the shoulder to grind out tough yards. People forget that he is 223 pounds. Meanwhile, Samuels run routes with grace.
When Samuels hits the hole or operates in space, he uses a subtle wiggle to make the first defender whiff. Although not the most twitchy of backs, Samuels uses just enough to get downfield. Adequate would fit in this category, nothing outstanding but better than expected. In the slot, he will use and stutter step into a quick slant.
While Samuels’ game does not scream big play threat, he accelerates well in the open field. If a defender takes a poor angle, Samuels will streak by him. On the other hand, do not look for Samuels to break any 70 yarders. His burst will net him chunk yardage. Nevertheless, Samuels takes the corner on jet/ toss sweeps with skill. In addition, the outside zone run are a favorite of his.
Without hyperbole, few backs in this draft possess the comfort in the passing game as Samuels. During his time in Raleigh, he lined up in the backfield, the slot and outside. Over his four seasons, he amassed 201 catches and 19 touchdowns. Although Samuels stands a shade under six-feet-tall, he expands his catch radius by diving and attempting to high point the ball.
Granted, the Raiders appear to employ an already full backfield. Yet, with Marshawn Lynch’s status up in the air, why not look for options. Samuels is not quite a lead back. However, he could serve as a capable backup to whoever the Raiders deem as the starter. What Jon Gruden appreciates is a versatile back. He employed Charlie Garner twice, coached Ricky Watters in Philly. Throwing to running backs is a staple of his philosophy.
Samuels presents an intriguing option. His route tree dwarfs most running back, lining up all over the field. Not to mention, Samuels covers and returns kicks. Like Gruden, the NFL embraced the committee approach in the backfield. Right now, Samuels presents more value than either Washington or Richard. With Richard earning $630,000 and coming off a nightmare 2017, Samuels would carve into his snaps. Drafting Samuels gives the Raiders a flexible offensive weapon in the 4th to 6th rounds, where Oakland owns seven picks. Why not draft a player that fills many needs?