I’ve mostly come to terms with modest expectations for Jaylen Samuels in the NFL because I understand he’s not an elite athlete, and not the sort who will probably ever become a feature back.
I’m good with that, actually, because JaySam is way too interesting to be playing running back the whole time. That’d damn near be a crime.
But he should still see his role increase out of the backfield for the Pittsburgh Steelers this fall, now that Le’Veon Bell is completely out of the picture. And JaySam has been working on improving his speed this season, the better to take advantage of the situation, as ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports:
“A lot of guys are fast. It’s all about speed,” Samuels said. “If I can build up my speed a little faster, I feel like I’ll be more decisive in and out of my cuts as a pure runner. I feel like I got faster. I can get in and out of my cuts a little bit better. Still have to work on my route running, my overall game.”
There’s plenty of unrealized potential for him in the passing game, too. He caught 90% of the balls targeted to him last season and scored three times. Imagine if the Steelers look his way more than twice per game, as they did last year.