(Editor's Note: With less than one month until the start of the 2017 NFL Draft on April 27, the staff of DallasCowboys.com intends to preview the landscape of possible Cowboys draft picks – from the first round to the last. Today's featured player is Ohio State's Curtis Samuel.)
Name: Curtis Samuel
Position: Running Back/Wide Receiver
College: Ohio State
Honors: Samuel was a first-team All-American and All-Big-Ten selection as a junior, his final season for the Buckeyes.
Key Stat: With Ezekiel Elliott leaving Ohio State for the Cowboys, Samuel became a first-year starter in 2016. He had 97 carries for 771 yards (8 touchdowns) and 74 catches for 865 yards (7 touchdowns) as the only player in the country with at least 700 yards in both categories.
Where He's Projected: Sometimes a player's versatility can create questions about their role at the next level. Is Samuel an NFL running back or receiver, or both? Might depend on the system into which he's drafted. Regardless, most draft observers believe Samuel is likely to be selected by a team on Day 2 and as early as the second round.
How He Helps The Cowboys:The Cowboys have stated their plans to focus on defense in this draft, though they won't avoid an offensive prospect if they see value in a particular round. The offense is deep at running back, but the Cowboys did lose Lance Dunbar in free agency, leaving a possible opening for a change-of-pace type back. Elliott is a complete back who can fill most of those duties, but Samuel thrived in the H-Back role for Ohio State and is the type of player who can line up all over the field.
Scout's Take: "Jack of All Trades" type of player. Talented enough to do plenty scheme wise. Used as a running back/wide receiver. Outstanding when it comes to catching the ball in his hands. Not a smooth route runner down the field. Better when he can work inside and intermediate. Coaches try and get him the ball down the field. Has a burst. Can adjust to low ball. Can avoid in space. Can break tackles. Can turn the corner. Has that stop-start quickness. Shows the ability to work in tight spaces. Stays after the block. Doesn't have great balance as a route runner – better as a running back in this area. Can make man miss and create. Plays in the slot. Can turn up the field with the ball. Vision to see holes. Can change directions. Will catch in traffic. Does a nice job of fighting for the ball in a crowd. Routes are run with speed. Good concentration. Effort to block. Can be physical when he steps up. Will need to develop in this area more than any other. Used as a punt returner in 2016 with limited success. Has the ability to get large chunks of yards both as a runner/receiver. Has the ability to be a special player.
- Bryan Broaddus[embeddedad0]