Name: Curtis Samuel
School: Ohio State
Position fit: Hybrid between running back and receiver
Stats to know: Ranked second in the RB draft class with 2.76 receiving yards per route run. Lined up in the slot on 425 snaps in 2016 compared to 220 snaps in the backfield, including 11 direct snaps.
What he does best:
- Excellent speed, can outrun majority of defenders.
- Moves very well laterally and can cut quick to cause defenders to over pursue.
- Shows the ability to read blocks across run concepts.
- Works best on the edge and in space, but can be effective running inside.
- Not the sharpest or most polished route runner, but a very good receiver that still has potential to improve in the area.
- Is a threat when lined up in the backfield and when split as a receiver.
- High points and attacks passes like a receiver.
- Not just a speed receiver, produced as a receiver running various routes.
- Positional flexibility provides a personnel advantage for offenses.
- Sometimes tries to do too much in the open field instead of just utilizing his speed to outrun defenders.
- Only 107 carries, 65 receptions in his career against Power-5 opponents.
- Drops aren’t an issue, but probably body catches more than necessary.
- Will the lack of a true primary position cause issues for offensive coordinators on how to best use him?
Player comparison: Percy Harvin
Bottom line: Samuel has a very similar skillset as former Florida Gator Percy Harvin, who also played for Urban Meyer. Samuel possesses excellent speed and agility, along with the ability to produce as both a running back and a split receiver. Samuel is a stronger runner who isn’t limited to being just a speed back. He’s capable of reading blocks as a running back and seems a bit more natural as a runner from the backfield than Harvin. While Samuel is a bit of a hybrid, he does not need touches schemed or manufactured for him. He can line up as a running back and be effective when just handing him the ball. He’s capable of getting open on downfield routes — although could still benefit from some polishing — and taking advantage of mismatches without forcing him screens and trick plays. That said, his flexibility can allow offensive coordinators to create mismatches easier and his ceiling may be tied to how well his coaches can do that.