Round 5 (first selection)
Jaylen Samuels – TE/RB (North Carolina State)
Original Pick: Tyler Conklin – TE (Central Michigan)
Samuels is a unique talent who can play multiple spots on the field. The Pittsburgh Steelers opted to toss him at running back when James Conner went down this past season. Needless to say he preformed at a high level, averaging 4.6 yards per carry, including a 142-yard performance against the New England Patriots late in the year.
He also made it clear that his tight end background can make a difference tallying 26 receptions for 199 yards during the minimal playing time he got. Samuels most likely would have found his home at tight end for the Vikings offering another pass catching option to go along with Kyle Rudolph.
Thoughts on original pick:
This one is a tough one for me as I absolutely loved Conklin coming out of Central Michigan and he still has potential to be a solid NFL tight end. He has some untapped potential that will hopefully come to light in the near future.
That said, Conklin had a mild case of the drops and he didn’t make the most of his opportunities during his rookie season in Minnesota. So I made the bold decision to go for a more dynamic pass catcher who can also play running back in a pinch (and play it pretty well).