Ohio State hybrid Curtis Samuel went to the Carolina Panthers in the 2017 NFL Draft and will be a terrific weapon for his new offense.
While Samuel may not have a clear-cut position yet in the NFL, there is no doubt that he is electric when the ball is in his hands.
Here are five things to know about the former Buckeyes star Curtis Samuel.
Curtis Samuel in NFL Draft 2017
1. He’s a big-play threat as a receiver
Samuel was a Swiss Army knife for the Buckeyes. After racking up 33 total receptions in his first two seasons in Columbus, he had a bigger role in the passing game in 2016. Samuel racked up 865 yards and seven touchdowns on 74 receptions. He ranked second in the conference in all three metrics, and was named a member of the first-team All-Big Ten at wideout.
The junior hybrid has incredible speed (ran a 4.31 40-yard dash at the combine), and he used it to his advantage to get open and accumulate yards after the catch. He can also line up anywhere on the field to create mismatches. Per Pro Football Focus, Samuel had 220 snaps in the backfield in 2016 along with 425 in the slot.
2. But he can also run the ball very effectively
Samuel averaged 7.9 yards per rush this past season, which ranked fifth among players with at least 80 carries in the country. After moving to wide receiver in 2015 to get more time on the field rather than being Ezekiel Elliott’s backup, Urban Meyer switched Samuel’s role to an H-back in his offense in 2016. And it paid off greatly.
He was the only player in college football with at least 700 rushing and receiving yards. Samuel’s speed allowed him to beat defensive backs to the edge. With only 300 touches as a Buckeye, he still has a lot of mileage left.
3. He had the two most important plays for Ohio State in 2016
Ohio State would not have pulled off an incredible 30-27 win in double overtime against Michigan had it not been for two plays by Samuel. In fact, they were two of the final three plays of the game.
The first play came on third-and-9, and Samuel caught a screen pass from J.T. Barrett. Samuel was immediately in trouble, but weaved his way around the field and turned a possible big loss into an eight-yard gain. After an OSU fourth-down conversion, Samuel scampered into the end zone to put a dagger into the hearts of his rivals.
Those plays highlight the fact that Samuel can do damage as a runner and a receiver, all you simply have to do is give him the ball.
4. His comparison is Percy Harvin
It’s easy to see why. Both had similar roles in an Urban Meyer offense, both have electric playmaking ability and both possess excellent speed and agility. Harvin and Samuel are each 5-foot-11, with Samuel weighing just four pounds heavier.
Per Sports Illustrated, Samuel even grew up idolizing Harvin and modeled his game after the former Florida star’s. In Harvin’s best season in Gainesville, he racked up 764 rushing yards and 858 receiving yards. As mentioned earlier, Samuel’s past campaign featured 771 rushing yards and 865 receiving yards.
5. He can also help out on special teams
Samuel averaged 21.6 yards per kickoff return on his 21 runbacks as a freshman and sophomore, and also returned six punts in 2016.
NFL teams may want to try giving Samuel an opportunity on special teams to let him make plays in open space. This is a player who coaches should be creative with in getting him the ball as many ways as possible.