Steelers 2-a-days: Jaylen Samuels a part of the offense; Casey Sayles back after strong AAF stint
Editor’s note: From now until the first practice of training camp at Saint Vincent, the Trib will be running through the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 90-man roster, assessing each player’s outlook for the 2019 season. The breakdown will go through the roster in mostly alphabetical order, (at least) two per day, between June 14 and July 26.
RB JAYLEN SAMUELS
Experience: 2nd season
Contract status: $634,516 cap hit in 2019 as part of four-year rookie contract signed last year
2019 outlook: A fifth-round pick, Samuels was season inactive for two games last season, settled into a special-teams role, began playing offense in Week 8 and had a featured role by December’s showdown with New England. He averaged 7.5 yards on 19 carries in that win against the Patriots, and he had three touchdowns among his 82 touches for the season. But the Steelers still have James Conner, and they drafted Benny Snell in the fourth round this year. That leaves Samuels’ role in question. Will he be a complementary, third-down back? Will he be the backup to Conner? Could he lose that gig to Snell? Will he be a Swiss Army Knife of sorts for offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner? Could he get reps at tight end? Slot receiver? Fullback? It will be interesting to watch during training camp.
DL CASEY SAYLES
Experience: The past two summers/training camps with the Los Angeles Rams (2017) and Steelers (2018), plus the Alliance of American Football this past spring
Contract status: $495,000 cap hit in 2019, under contractual control for four accrued seasons
2019 outlook: Sayles is back after spending last camp with the Steelers. He was noticeable among the group of undrafted/first-year defensive linemen at Saint Vincent in 2018, just not enough to earn a roster spot. But Sayles was solid during a stint with the AAF’s Birmingham Iron, so he’s back for a third NFL training camp (he was with the Rams as an undrafted rookie from Ohio University in 2017). The 6-foot-3, 289-pound Sayles had five sacks as a senior in college, and he had another in the 2017 preseason. There’s a least one open 53-man roster spot for a defensive lineman, and the domino effect leaves a spot on the practice squad, too. Sayles is a strong candidate to nab it.
Casey Sayles continues to be among the best interior defenders in the AAF! pic.twitter.com/2MC0KXmQ7g
— PFF_AAF (@PFF_AAF) March 16, 2019
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .