Curtis Samuel 2017 NFL Draft Profile

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Overview
Position: Running back/wide receiver
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 196 pounds
School: Ohio State Buckeyes

Combine Performance Data
40-yard dash
: 4.31 seconds (third overall at 2017 Combine)
Bench press: 18 reps (tied for fifth among wide receivers)
Vertical jump: 37 inches (tied for fifth among wide receivers)
Broad jump: 9 feet, 11 inches
Three-cone drill: 7.09 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.33 seconds

Curtis Samuel 2017 NFL Draft Profile

Ohio State is a national program from a recruiting standpoint. And the Tri-State area is a region head coach Urban Meyer wants to have a consistent year-over-year footprint in. Curtis Samuel committed to the Buckeyes from this part of the country, hailing from Brooklyn, NY.

Meyer saw in the four-star wide receiver an ideal fit for the H-back role so integral to his offensive philosophy. It involved Samuel lining up in a wide variety of sets both out wide and in the backfield. His impact in the offense gradually expanded during his three seasons in Columbus, culminating with a prolific junior campaign.

Samuel managed 1,636 yards from scrimmage in 2016, a total which ranked third in the Big Ten. But 771 of those yards came on the ground, by far the highest total in the nation among players classified as a wideout. He added eight rushing and seven receiving touchdowns en route to First Team All-American honors from the Associated Press and The Sporting News. The Chicago Tribune also named him a finalist for their Silver Football Award.

Strengths

  • versatile, multi-talented athlete who excelled in the H-back role.
  • exceptional initial burst out of his breaks.
  • sees the field extremely well; dynamic in space.
  • superb twitch with change of direction moves on slants/curls/outs.
  • durable player who stayed healthy throughout the entirety of his time at OSU.
  • ran a fairly extensive route tree in college.
  • will fill in well on teams who incorporate zone read schemes.
  • has special teams experience as a kickoff returner.
  • shows up in big games; had three key plays during OT in OSU’s win over Michigan last year, including the game-winning touchdown.

Weaknesses

  • doesn’t have the widest catch radius in the world.
  • persistent inability to bring in contested balls.
  • dealt with focus drops at times.
  • gets overly jammed at the line of scrimmage in press coverage.
  • needs to pluck the ball out of the air instead of relying on his body to make catches.
  • has issues adjusting to the flight of the ball.
  • questions remain as to his ability as a blocker.
  • only had one year of above average production from a yardage/touchdowns standpoint.

NFL Comparison: Percy Harvin

Teams With Need at Position: Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Los Angeles Rams, New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans

Projection: early to mid second round

Bottom Line

Given the way Samuel operated in a Buckeye uniform, versatility is the first word that comes to mind. Meyer utilized Harvin in a similar role in his previous head coaching stint at Florida, hence the comparison. And it worked to magnificent effect as the Gators won two national titles during Harvin’s three seasons in Gainesville.

But there are concerns about his ability to succeed long-term at the next level. His skill set is similar to another former Buckeye in Jalin Marshall who declared for the draft last year. Ultimately, teams were unsure about a defined role for Marshall and he signed with the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent.

Samuel currently projects higher than Marshall at this point in the draft process. And he possesses a bit more athleticism and upside. But if there are misgivings about his ability to transition to full-time receiver (his most likely role at the next level), he might go later than expected.

Nevertheless, his vision, durability, competitiveness and potential for him to contribute immediately as a kick returner make Samuel an attractive prospect.

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