Steelers RB Jaylen Samuels could be the odd man out next season

Jaylen Samuels Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Jaylen Samuels Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

The Steelers have some rebuilding to do on the offensive side of the football. Here’s why Jaylen Samuels could be the odd man out in Pittsburgh’s backfield next season.

There’s no secret that the Steelers have some improvements to make on the offensive side of the ball before the 2020 season kicks off. Without Ben Roethlisberger last year, Pittsburgh finished as the league’s 30th ranked offense by the season’s end.

This year, Pittsburgh will be hoping to turn things around in a big way. There is plenty of reason to believe that the Steelers will spend at least a few of their top draft choices on offense this year. Tight end and offensive line are needs that are being talked about for Pittsburgh, and drafting another wide receiver certainly isn’t out of the question.

However, running back is also a position the Steelers could stand to improve. If Pittsburgh elects to go this route, Jaylen Samuels could be the odd man out of the roster at the position.

During his first two seasons with the team, Samuels proved to be worth the 5th round pick Pittsburgh spent to get him. With Le’Veon Bell sitting out, James Conner started his first full season in 2018. However, when Conner went down with a knee injury late in the season, it was Samuels who showed up in a big way.

Samuels helped Pittsburgh on the ground and through the air. He ultimately caught 26 of 29 passes on the sesaon, and helped lead the Steelers to victory with 172 total yards against the Patriots. By the end of the season, Samuels had managed a respectable 4.6 yards per carry on the ground to go with 7.7 yards per reception.

Last season, however, things did not go so well for the former NC State product. Samuels was wildly inefficient when called upon – averaging just 2.7 yards per carry on the ground and 6.5 through the air.

With Conner’s inability to stay healthy, it’s increasingly likely that Pittsburgh will look to add help to their running back core this offseason (either through the draft or free agency). If this indeed happens, Samuels will be the odd man out.

Conner is the projected starter for the Steelers next season, while Benny Snell showed promise as a runner in his rookie season. Snell is still just 21 years old and has 3 years remaining on a cheap rookie deal.

The Steelers rarely keep more than three running backs on their roster, and fullback, Roosevelt Nix will round out the group in the backfield. Samuels isn’t guaranteed to get cut from the team this offseason, and he will have a chance to prove his worth to this football team.

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However, if the Steelers elect to go with a running back high in the draft, Samuels may be looking for employment on another team in 2020.