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The Fascinating Jaylen Samuels

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Samuels approaches the next level as both one of the most versatile players in history and a prospect with the potential to stretch the boundaries of the professional prototype.

At 6'0'', 225 pounds, Jaylen Samuels is one of the draft's most remarkable players. Furthermore, he may be a positional pioneer. Samuels, while listed as a tight end, played multiple roles at NC State, producing as a receiver, a rusher, a return specialist and even as a passer for the Wolfpack. A distinctive talent, Samuels approaches the next level as both one of the most versatile players in college football history and a prospect with the potential to stretch the boundaries of the professional prototype.

Samuels finished his career with 202 receptions for 1,855 yards and 19 touchdowns, 181 rushes for 1,103 yards and 28 scores, 12 kickoff returns and a passing touchdown. He is one of just 20 players in ACC history with more than 200 catches. Notably, Samuels also slots in the top ten in the league record books for total scores. For point of reference, he has more career receptions than Torry Holt, as many touchdown catches as Kelvin Benjamin, more rushing scores than Giovani Bernard and a higher yard-per-carry average than C.J. Spiller. 

Truly one-of-a-kind, Samuels stands out on the football field and stands alone on the stat sheet. Since the turn of millennium, he is the only player in the country with 200 receptions, 25 rushing touchdowns and a passing score.

In addition to the aforementioned production, Samuels, the athlete, is quite impressive. He tied for the fastest 40-yard dash time amongst tight ends at the NFL Combine, ranking in the positional top five in bench press repetitions, vertical leap, broad jump, three-cone drill, 20-yard shuttle and 60-yard shuttle. What truly separates Samuels, however, are his instincts; simply put, Samuels makes plays. 

In some ways a throwback to previous generations, Samuels may also be a sign of things to come.

There are developments that point towards players like Samuels becoming the future of football. Just as multi-faceted hoopsters have made the NBA relatively position-less, Samuels just might bring a similar flexibility to the NFL. Situation-dependent, he could be a tight end, or a running back, fullback or wide receiver. Such an ability is perfect for the redzone. Samuels is a matchup problem as he can functionally line up at any of the skill positions and be effective at each spot.

More than just an H-back in a traditional football set, Samuels may very well be the x-variable in football's new formula.

Samuels may not have one true position, but, clearly, he has a place.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports