Welcome to the 20/20 series. As part of our continued Dynasty Scouts coverage and in preparation for the NFL Combine, we will be profiling 20 of the top incoming rookies of the class of 2019 by giving you 20 facts you must know.
1.) Player Name – Deebo Samuel
2.) College – South Carolina
3.) Height/Weight – 5’11”, 205 lbs
4.) Birthdate – 01/15/1996 (23 years old)
5.) Class – Senior
6.) Basic college stats –
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Statistics from sports-reference.com.
7.) NFL Draft projection – Although Samuel has done nothing but impress from returning from a nasty leg injury, I still would project him to land somewhere in the early-to-middle part of the third round of the 2019 Draft. He currently sits ranked as high as the third wide receiver being taken off the board, while other scouts have him going as low as the ninth receiver selected. He’ll need to create a lot of noise at the Combine in order to stay at the top of owners’ draft boards.
8.) Current NFL comparison – Tyler Lockett is a great comparison of a wide receiver who has great athleticism and hands, but whose size has limited him at times from becoming a true WR1 threat. While Samuel certainly did not nearly put up the same staggering numbers as Lockett in college, there are some great similarities.
Had it not been for Samuel’s broken fibula in the 2017 season, they could have been identical. Both Lockett and Samuel are explosive return men, capable of not only making a fantasy impact in the receiving game but also on special teams. They each scored four touchdowns during their collegiate careers, with Samuel playing in almost half the number of games that Lockett did.
9.) Best possible destination – This is really the dealbreaker in my opinion for Samuel. If a team can find enough potential and value in him that outweighs the risk of injury, then he could find himself immediately contributing to a team that will look very smart. The first team that comes to mind is the Washington Redskins who desperately could use a playmaker both on offense and special teams. Bruce Matson covered the Redskins receivers in his dynasty capsule, which clearly shows the lack of young, explosive talent at the position.
10.) Worst possible destination – Basically we are looking at the opposite of the above fit. Any team that would likely not utilize Samuel’s playmaking ability on special teams, and an organization already filled with young talent.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers or New Orleans Saints were two that came to my mind immediately. Each team has great route running star receivers, mixed with both slot and outside receivers who have locked in their respective starting jobs.
Samuel needs an opportunity to shine, and to do so sooner rather than later given his history of injuries.
11.) Best current skill – Plain and simple: Samuel has moves that a lot of the 2019 receiving class simply lacks. His route-running capabilities and yards after catch (YAC) potential are off the charts for a “slot” receiver who can come in and immediately make a difference.
If you haven’t had a chance to look at the seemingly daily highlight video performances he was putting on at the Senior Bowl practices, just keep reading and we’ll show you some below.
12.) Skills that need to be improved – While durability and injury concern is not necessarily a common tangible trait that can be improved, this will be the one thing that will steer some franchises completely clear of drafting Samuel at all. In 2015, he played in only five games due to some severe hamstring injuries, and in 2017, he played only three games due to a broken fibula. He has shown great flashes even in those injury-riddled seasons, but given his track record of injury issues, he could be one injury away from never reaching his true potential in the NFL.
13.) Past/current rookie ADP – In DLF’s February ADP data, Samuel landed himself a ranking of 139.83 (11th round) which puts him below Ronald Jones and Dion Lewis, but ahead of Marquise Goodwin and Duke Johnson.
In our rookie ADP data, he holds a ranking of 14.50, which just puts him outside of the first round in rookie drafts.
14.) Projected dynasty value – As we near the NFL Combine and the NFL Draft, Samuel’s stock should only continue to rise if he stays healthy. In your rookie drafts, you will definitely want to wait and see which team he lands with before selecting him.
Given that he lands in a decent position to compete immediately, Samuel is worth most mid-to-late second-round picks and would definitely be a steal if you are getting him any later than that.
While I don’t foresee him ever stepping into a WR1 role in terms of fantasy, he should be an excellent role player who could thrive within a system offense that utilizes the slot position.
15.) Recruiting profile – Samuel was a three-star prospect coming out of high school when he committed to South Carolina. He was considered by Rivals to be the #17 player in the state of South Carolina and the #57 player in the nation at the time.
In his high school career, Samuel scored a school-record 53 career touchdowns and added 94 tackles and 12 interceptions on the defensive end.
16.) Senior bowl standout – As stated previously, Samuel absolutely tore up the Senior Bowl in January. It seemed to be daily that a new video would surface on Twitter of him leaving defenders shook as he flew by them.
Take this video for instance:
My goodness, Deebo Samuel, you didn’t have to do him like THAT 😧😧 pic.twitter.com/7xLhwTXyJm
— The Draft Network (@DraftNetworkLLC) January 24, 2019
Despite the Senior Bowl being a bit of an offensive dud, leaving Samuel with just one catch, he was fortunate enough to have impressed so many coaches and scouts during his opportunities during practice. It is clearly evident that his route running will make a difference at the next level.
Deebo Samuel is unguardable in the redzone because of his explosive and refined route running – head fake times up with his jab step, but watch his right foot glide right across the grass as he rips across face. Quick, strong win inside #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/QdWevbydLs
— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) February 15, 2019
17.) They call me “Deebo” for short – Believe it or not, but Tyshun Samuel is Deebo’s true name, and he actually earned the nickname from the 1995 hit movie Friday portraying a neighborhood bully with the same name. Growing up he was the neighborhood bully, which has translated into his resilient, competitive nature.
18.) Special teams extraordinaire – If not for the leg break that he suffered in 2017, Samuel very well could have broken some single-season special teams records that season. As mentioned previously, he has had proven success as a kick returner, which could add value come draft time. In his season cut short by injury, Samuel had taken two kickoffs to the house for touchdowns and most likely would have added even more that year.
19.) The Combine – All eyes will be on Samuel at the 2019 NFL Combine, which is approaching very quickly. The 23-year-old still has a lot to prove before teams are going to pull the trigger on the versatile receiver. We have seen what Samuel can do both in the slot and in the return game, but the Combine will give a great idea of just how athletic Samuel is.
I expect him to run somewhere between a 4.45 and 4.53-second 40-yard dash and would like to see him shed just a few pounds before the Combine as multiple scouting sources claim he is a bit heavier for his build and size. This isn’t a concern at all, but rather something manageable that Samuel can work towards.
20.) Video profile – Want even more to convince you of his talent? Our very own John Laub and Andy Singleton made an excellent breakdown of Samuel’s statistics and target share during his tenure at South Carolina and how that will translate in the NFL.
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