All-purpose machine Curtis Samuel was the first Buckeye drafted in the second round. Samuel was selected by the Carolina Panthers with the 40th overall pick during the 2017 NFL Draft.
If there was a single player that embodied the utmost importance on last season’s team, then it would have to be Curtis Samuel. This was in good timing as Ohio State was seemingly desperate for firepower on offense considering their recent losses.
The 2016 NFL Draft stripped the offense of Elliott, Michael Thomas, Cardale Jones, Braxton Miller, and Nick Vannett. Samuel took advantage of every second of this opportunity as he almost single-handedly willed his team to a championship with his breakneck speed.
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The Buckeyes’ offense may as well have been tailored exclusively to Samuel. His touches were monitored a bit as the season progressed but he made every one of them count.
Buckeye fans will always remember Samuel for his shining moment against Michigan last season. Samuel scored the final touchdown to seal a home victory over the Wolverines in double overtime.
Though Samuel was great as a running back, he was even better as a receiver. Samuel was utilized plenty in the passing game. Per ESPN, he was the Buckeyes’ leading receiver by a long shot as he tripled the nearest second option (Noah Brown with 32 receptions). Additionally, per NCAA.com, Samuel ranked 39th in the nation in receptions per game.
The Carolina Panthers were in need of some speed and versatility to mend the recent stagnation in their offense. Due to Samuel’s bevy of skills and being listed as a receiver during the draft process, it is unclear how the Panthers will use him.
However, what is clear is that their current back, Jonathan Stewart, is aging and has been injury prone. Samuel would provide a great one-two punch as a receiver and multi-threat out of the backfield.
The Panthers scooped up Stanford’s star running back Christian McCaffrey early in the first round. This is a strong indicator that the Panthers fulfilled their immediate need for a running back and will likely look to Samuel as a receiver. Thus, giving quarterback Cam Newton another speedy option to check to. Samuel will be joining fellow Ohio State receiver Corey Brown.