Steelers: 3 players fighting for their job this preseason
Samuels averaged 4.6 yards per carry as a rookie in 2018, and he had 73 receptions over his first two seasons. Then last year, he played in 14 games but tallied just 18 touches. So his role in the offense has already become practically nil. Then the Steelers drafted Najee Harris to be their new lead back, and everyone gets bumped down a spot on the depth chart.
Benny Snell and 2020 fourth-round pick Anthony McFarland are virtual locks to make the Steelers roster, though Snell has been mentioned as a cut candidate. Kalen Ballage and Trey Edmunds will also be fighting for roster spot (s), and it’s unlikely everyone makes the final 53. The Steelers aren’t likely to keep six running backs heading into Week 1.
Even with a role as a “core” special teamer in mind, Samuels only played 30 percent of the Steelers’ special teams snaps in 2020 (135)–compared to 121 offensive snaps. So he didn’t even play a lot more on special teams, as his fairly narrow role in the offense (passing downs) all but went away.
Samuels should get a fair amount of run in the preseason for the Steelers, for as long as he’s around. His usage against the Cowboys, or lack thereof if it goes that way, will be telling.