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Steelers All 90: RB Jaylen Samuels



All 90 is a Pittsburgh Steelers Now series profiling each of the 90 members of the Steelers 2021 offseason roster.

38 • Jaylen Samuels, fourth-year running back
6-foot, 225 pounds

Acquired: Drafted by the Steelers with the No. 165 overall pick in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Last season: Samuels had his least productive season as a pro, rushing for 28 yards on nine carries and adding another 46 yards on nine catches.

Samuels lost touches to rookie Anthony McFarland Jr. and second-year back Benny Snell Jr., who started when first-stringer James Conner was injured.

Career: Samuels saw extensive playing time in his first two seasons in Pittsburgh. He rushed 56 times for 256 yards and caught 26 passes for 199 yards as a rookie in 2018.

In 2019, that role grew, especially in the passing game, where he was targeted 57 times for 47 catches and 305 yards. He also ran for 175 yards on 66 carries.

College: Samuels was a jack of all trades for NC State, working as a running back, fullback, H-back, tight end and kick returning in three seasons as a major contributor for the Wolfpack.

As a senior in 2017, he had 1,000 yards from scrimmage — 593 receiving and 407 rushing — along with 213 return yards.

Samuels played for current Steelers offensive coordinator Matt Canada in 2015 and running backs coach Eddie Faulkner for his entire collegiate career.

Camp outlook: Samuels’ hold on a roster spot appears tenuous, as the Steelers brought in fellow fourth-year man Kalen Ballage to compete alongside McFarland and Snell. At least one of that quartet will likely be on the outside of the 53-man roster.

Samuels’ best assets are his receiving ability and pass blocking, something that McFarland has struggled with. If the second-year man can take a big step, it might cost Samuels a roster spot.

Future: Samuels will be an unrestricted free agent for the first time at the end of the 2021 season.

The rest of the 90: