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Jaylen Samuels

Pittsburgh Steelers
Running Back #38
Pittsburgh Steelers
Running Back #38
Photo: Icon Sportswire

Jaylen Samuels News

Joins Steelers' practice squad

Samuels was added to the Steelers' practice squad Wednesday, Teresa Varley of the Steelers' official site reports.

Analysis: Samuels failed to secure a depth role on Pittsburgh's 53-man roster, but he should be available to step in as a backup if the team's running backs deal with injuries. The 2018 fifth-rounder appeared in 14 games for the Steelers last year but tallied just nine carries for 28 yards while hauling in nine of his 14 targets for 46 yards.

Sep 2, 2021 3:32 PM EST

Fails to make roster

The Steelers cut Samuels on Tuesday, Ed Bouchette of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: Samuels was unable to retain a spot on the initial 53-man roster with Benny Snell, Kalen Ballage and Anthony McFarland (undisclosed) all around to handle reserve roles behind Najee Harris. The third-down specialist could realistically draw interest elsewhere in the league, especially given that he can also contribute on special teams.

Aug 31, 2021 1:37 PM EST

Effective as receiver

Samuels carried the ball three times for eight yards in Friday's preseason game against the Panthers. He added two receptions on two targets for 20 yards.

Analysis: Samuels didn't do much as a rusher after picking up eight yards on his first carry. However, he did appear more dynamic as a receiver out of the backfield by managing gains of 13 and seven yards. Samuels didn't enter the game until Joshua Dobbs was under center in the third quarter. With both Benny Snell and Kalen Ballage largely working ahead of him, Samuels may be at risk of losing out on a roster spot.

Aug 27, 2021 9:00 PM EST

Productive against Eagles

Samuels recorded 10 carries for 45 yards and a touchdown, and he hauled his lone target for 17 yards in Thursday's 24-16 preseason win over the Eagles.

Analysis: Samuels led the Steelers' running backs by playing 27 percent of the team's offensive snaps in Thursday's exhibition game, and he recorded double-digit touches for a second straight week. While he had an inefficient 1.8 yards per carry in the Hall of Fame Game against the Cowboys, he was much more effective with 4.5 yards per carry Thursday. The 2018 fifth-rounder remains in a competition for a backup role with Kalen Ballage (lower body), Anthony McFarland and Benny Snell (undisclosed).

Aug 13, 2021 10:24 AM EST

Logs 11 carries in preseason opener

Samuels rushed 11 times for 20 yards and hauled in his lone target for five yards in the Steelers' 16-3 preseason win over the Cowboys in Thursday's Hall of Fame Game.

Analysis: Samuels is competing for the primary backup role behind Najee Harris ahead of the regular season, and he led the team's backfield in touches during the preseason opener. However, his 1.8 yards per carry ranked last among the team's running backs. Harris will command the majority of the work this season, and Samuels will have to show better efficiency later in the preseason if he hopes to differentiate himself from Kalen Ballage, Anthony McFarland and Benny Snell.

Aug 6, 2021 9:33 AM EST

Gets more competition in offseason

Samuels will have to compete for touches once again this season after the Steelers selected Najee Harris with the 24th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: After James Conner signed with the Cardinals during the offseason, the Steelers signed Kalen Ballage at the end of March before selecting Harris with their first pick in the draft. Samuels was mainly limited to special-teams work in 2021, and he could have to compete for a roster spot during training camp and the preseason now that the team's depth chart at running back is even more crowded. Samuels rushed nine times for 28 yards while hauling in nine passes for 46 yards in 2020.

Apr 30, 2021 11:12 AM EST

Limited to special teams work

Samuels was on the field for only 10 snaps on special teams during Sunday's 24-22 loss to the Browns.

Analysis: Even as the Steelers relied heavily on their depth players in Sunday's Week 17 matchup, Samuels wasn't on the field for any offensive snaps against the Browns. The 24-year-old was far less involved in the Steelers' offensive attack this year than he had been in past seasons. He rushed nine times for 28 yards while hauling in nine of his 14 targets for 46 yards. He could move up the depth chart in 2021 if James Conner doesn't return to the team during the offseason, but he should continue to see a minimal role in the playoffs and will likely continue to serve in a depth role once again next year.

Jan 4, 2021 11:29 AM EST

Goes without Week 16 carry

Samuels did not receive any rush attempts or targets during Sunday's 28-24 win over the Colts.

Analysis: The veteran back saw four of his 19 snaps on the offensive side, but he went without a touch for the first time over his past four appearances. James Conner's return from a quadriceps injury all but eliminated an already minimal offensive role for Samuels. He's totaled 74 scrimmage yards with no touchdowns over 18 combined carries and rush attempts this season.

Dec 29, 2020 5:26 PM EST

Plays minimal role in loss

Samuels recorded one carry for four yards while hauling in his lone target for 12 yards in Monday's 24-17 loss to the Bengals.

Analysis: Samuels played a considerable role for the Steelers over the past two weeks and figured to be in line for increased work against Cincinnati with James Conner (quadriceps) sidelined. However, he was only on the field for seven offensive snaps after playing 27 offensive snaps in each of the last two weeks. The 24-year-old has now brought in seven of his nine targets over the past three weeks, but he has only recorded 74 yards from scrimmage on 18 touches this season.

Dec 22, 2020 10:22 AM EST

Should see more work

Samuels is expected to slot in as the No. 2 running back in Monday's game against the Bengals because James Conner (quad) has been ruled out.

Analysis: When Conner sat out in Week 13 against Washington, Samuels logged a 38 percent snap share and four touches as the backup to Benny Snell. Anthony McFarland rotated in as the clear No. 3 back. The Steelers figure to roll with a similar rotation in Week 15. As a result, Snell may be the only dependable fantasy option, although Samuels could see more work if they start running up the score. Through 11 games this year, Samuels has been inefficient with just 58 yards from scrimmage on 16 touches.

Dec 21, 2020 1:09 PM EST

Tallies seven touches in loss

Samuels logged four carries for 15 yards while hauling in three of his four targets for 18 yards in Sunday's 26-15 loss to Buffalo.

Analysis: Even with James Conner back from the reserve/COVID-19 list for Sunday's primetime matchup, Samuels led the Steelers' backfield with 27 snaps in the loss. He garnered a season-high seven touches, although he was unable to record much production with the ball in his hands. It's not yet known whether Samuels' increased snap count will continue while Conner remains healthy.

Dec 14, 2020 1:15 PM EST

Posts season high in touches

Samuels logged 11 yards on three receptions, adding a one-yard rush during Monday's 23-17 loss to Washington.

Analysis: Samuels' 27 offensive snaps constituted a season high, as Pittsburgh went without starting RB James Conner for Monday night because of his presence on the reserve/COVID-19 list. The uptick in involvement may remain temporary, as coach Mike Tomlin expressed optimism Tuesday regarding Conner's potential availability for Week 14, per Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Network. Samuels' production has been minimal to this point in 2020, with just 25 scrimmage yards collected over his nine offensive touches.

Dec 8, 2020 4:55 PM EST

In line for Week 13 return

Samuels (quadriceps) practiced fully Friday, Brian Batko of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Analysis: Samuels missed the last two games but upgraded to a full practice after previously being limited in practice. As a result, the depth running back should be out there Monday against Washington, and Samuels will likely be involved to some extent on offense if starting running back James Conner doesn't come off the reserve/COVID-19 list by game day.

Dec 4, 2020 12:48 PM EST

Ruled out for Tuesday

Samuels (quadriceps) has been ruled out ahead of Tuesday's game against the Ravens, Chris Adamski of reports.

Analysis: The Steelers were unable to hold an official practice, but they still ruled out Samuels ahead of the Tuesday game. It remains to be seen if the contest will actually happen, especially after James Conner reportedly tested positive for COVID-19, but if the game does take place, expect a major workload for the likes of Benny Snell and Anthony McFarland.

Nov 28, 2020 2:04 PM EST

Misses practice

Samuels (quadriceps) was a non-participant at Monday's practice, Missi Matthews of the Steelers' official site reports.

Analysis: After missing the Steelers' Week 11 game against the Jaguars, Samuels is not trending in the right direction for Thursday's Thanksgiving matchup with with the Ravens. Still, it would not be surprising if Pittsburgh were just exercising caution with him on this short week. More clarity on his status should come as the week progresses.

Nov 23, 2020 5:00 PM EST

Won't play Week 11

The Steelers list Samuels (quadriceps) as out for Sunday's game against the Jaguars, Dale Lolley of reports.

Analysis: Pittsburgh will be down two running backs in Samuels and Trey Edmunds in Week 11, but both have been lightly used depth options behind the clear top three options on the roster (James Conner, Benny Snell and Anthony McFarland). Samuels will be inactive for the first time all season after logging only 56 offensive snaps and five touches through Pittsburgh's first nine games.

Nov 20, 2020 12:02 PM EST

Misses practice to start week

Samuels (quadriceps) didn't practice Wednesday.

Analysis: Samuels came off the reserve/COVID-19 list before last week's win over the Bengals but didn't touch the ball on offense while registering one special teams tackle. He may have picked up the quadriceps injury in that return to action, but either way, Samuels will likely need to raise his practice participation over the next couple days in order to suit up Sunday in Jacksonville.

Nov 18, 2020 12:59 PM EST

Moves off reserve/COVID-19 list

Samuels was activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday, Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Analysis: Samuels was activated off the list along with Ben Roethlisberger, offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins and linebacker Vince Williams. Each was considered "high-risk" close contacts, but self-isolation and multiple negative tests will allow them to take the field Sunday against the Bengals. The receiving back has been a bit player in the offense this season recording a total of 13 yards on five touches.

Nov 14, 2020 7:16 AM EST

Heads to COVID-19 list

The Steelers placed Samuels on the reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday, Teresa Varley of the team's official site reports.

Analysis: According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, Samuels and the other Steelers who were placed on the list Tuesday -- quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins and linebacker Vince Williams -- were designated as "high-risk" close contacts of a positive individual. All four players must self-isolate and test negative while exhibiting no symptoms of COVID-19 for five days before being eligible to return from the list Saturday. Even if Samuels is cleared ahead of Sunday's game against the Bengals, he won't be in store for a major role after playing fewer than 10 offensive snaps in all but one contest this season.

Nov 10, 2020 7:16 AM EST

Picks up five yards in win

Samuels recorded one carry for five yards in Sunday's 27-24 win over the Titans.

Analysis: Samuels' led the Steelers' backup running backs as he was on the field for nine of a possible 79 snaps on offense against the Titans, but he touched the ball just once in the win. The 24-year-old has recorded just three carries over the first six games of 2020 as much of his work has come on special teams this year.

Oct 26, 2020 11:02 AM EST

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