Wide-out Deebo Samuel set himself apart at Senior Bowl practices last week as Shanahan utilized him at the Z receiver spot. It’s important to bear in mind that the 49ers may be parting ways with Pierre Garçon, who plays the same position. Shanahan was quick to counter any speculation on the matter. Never the less, it’s fair to speculate how Samuel fits and so far he looks the part. Last week I mentioned Samuel in my article Top 10 Wide Receivers in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Here is an excerpt…
Whether it’s catching passes or returning kicks, Samuel is very dangerous with the ball in his hands. Standing 6 feet, 210 pounds and projected to run the 40 in the 4.45 range, he’s hard to stop. Samuel was named AP All-SEC at both wide receiver and kick returner this season. In his senior year, Samuel made 62 receptions for 882 yards, scoring 11 touchdowns and was the only player in the conference to return a kick for a touchdown, He led the conference with a 24.78 kick return average and finishes his college football career with 148 receptions for 2076 yards, with a 14 yard average, 16 receiving touchdowns, and 4 kick returns for touchdowns.
It’s hard to say where Samuel falls on their draft board, but Kyle Shanahan took full advantage of coaching the Senior Bowl, trying Samuel at whatever position or situation of his choosing. What the coaching staff concludes going forward is hard to tell, but no one can argue Samuel’s abilities which were on full display during practices.
Here’s some comments and highlights shared throughout Twitter…
— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoNBCS) January 24, 2019
My goodness, Deebo Samuel, you didn’t have to do him like THAT 😧😧 pic.twitter.com/7xLhwTXyJm
— The Draft Network (@DraftNetworkLLC) January 24, 2019
— Chase Goodbread (@ChaseGoodbread) January 25, 2019
Samuel was only targeted seven times in the Senior Bowl, finishing the game with one reception for 15 yards, but that shouldn’t affect his draft stock. He’s already shown the poise and ability to be a number one receiver at the next level. Whether he can actually continue that success in the National Football League has yet to be proven. Where he stands among his peers will be solidified in the 2019 NFL Draft. However, it’s very difficult to project where a player of his caliber falls, especially when teams keep their draft boards so close to the vest.
Currently, Samuel is projected to go somewhere in the early second round, but if he continue to impress in the pre-draft process, he could work his way into the first round. Having several other needs across the board it’s hard to see the 49ers taking Samuel earlier then the second round. They should take a long hard look, but proceed cautiously as injuries have been a concern with Samuel and John Lynch knows all too well that “your best ability is availability” and has said as much.
This off-season will be pivotal for John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan, as another poor season could spell their end in Santa Clara. They should consider Samuel if he’s available in the second or later rounds, especially if the 49ers don’t make a blockbuster trade for either Odell Beckham Jr. or Antonio Brown. Regardless of any trade or free agent signing, the 49ers need more talent across the board and drafting a blue chip play-maker like Samuel is a step in the right direction.