Name: Deebo Samuel
Position: Wide Receiver
Pro Team: San Francisco 49ers
College Team: South Carolina
Draft Status: Round two, 36th overall
- Height: 5’11’’
- Weight: 214 pounds
- Arms: 31’’
- Hands: 10”
- 40-Yard Dash: 4.48
- Bench press: 15 reps
- Vertical: 39’’
- Broad jump: 122’’
- Three-cone drill: 7.03 seconds
- 20-Yard Shuttle: 4.14 seconds
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- Strong at the catch point. Uses his hands to attack the ball while it’s in the air.
- Has a diverse route tree.
- Urgent route runner. Doesn’t waste time getting in and out of breaks.
- Tough to tackle after the catch. Acts like a running back when he gets the ball in space.
- Can run routes out of the slot and on the perimeter.
- Aggressive demeanor. Not afraid to fight for the ball while it’s in the air or run over a defender in the open field.
- Limited catch radius.
- Extensive injury history.
- Needs more experience against press coverage.
The 49ers selected Samuel as the third wide receiver off the board in the second round, making him the 36th player selected in the draft. San Francisco has a wide open depth chart and Samuel will compete for meaningful snaps early in his career. He’s going to see playing time and could carve out a role where he receives a decent sized target share. Getting on the field is half the battle for a young prospect. There are many gifted wide receivers who rarely see the field and the fact that he has an opportunity for playing time during his rookie season could be the stepping stone that allows him to develop into a high-end fantasy asset.
During his short tenure in the league as an NFL starter, Jimmy Garoppolo has proven to be a competent quarterback. He’s accurate and should be able to fuel Samuel’s fantasy production once they build a rapport with each other. This is very encouraging because there are a lot of wide receivers who would kill for an opportunity to play with a good quarterback who can deliver high-quality targets.
There’s a lot of ambiguity within the entire offense. Garoppolo only played in three games last years before his season came to an abrupt end when he tore his ACL. The wide receiver corps is almost completely made up of young talent. There’s also a lot of moving pieces at running back. Tevin Coleman, Jerick McKinnon, and Matt Breida are going to compete for touches out of the backfield.
We don’t know how much firepower this offense can generate. George Kittle is going to command a large target share and we don’t know how the rest of the targets will be distributed in the offense. Will Dante Pettis take a step forward and be the team’s leading receiver? Are we sure Garoppolo is as good as we think he is? There’s a lot of uncontrolled variables that could impact Samuel’s output.
Samuel should see playing time early in his career. After all, there’s not much competition for playing time at the wide receiver spot. Expect him to see a large percentage of his snaps from the slot where he does his best work. His production might be frustrating during his first year considering he’s transitioning to the speed of the NFL game. As he gets established in the offense, we should also see his target share increase. Limit your expectation with Samuel during his first couple of years because he’s a player that might need some seasoning before he starts delivering results in the box score.
Expect Samuel to be a key staple to the team’s offensive game plan. He should see enough targets to make him a viable flex option. His fantasy production will be dependent on the offense’s effectiveness and the sheer volume of the team’s passing game. The offense has to eventually improve and when that happens Samuel should benefit from that.
If things go as planned, he could be a dependable WR2, but he has WR1 upside if the passing game kicks it into gear. There’s also a chance that he could be a complete dumpster fire and deliver zero value in fantasy. It’s a good wide receiver class but not all of the wide receivers in this year’s class are going become reliable fantasy producers.
There are some factors that could disrupt his fantasy success, but overall, he has the talent to develop into a valuable dynasty asset. He may never be a first-round startup pick but he could have some years where he’s considered a top-50 dynasty asset. Most year’s he’s going to hover with a 65-80 ADP range in startup drafts.
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON
He’s a bigger version of Golden Tate. Both players have similar playing styles. They excel in the slot and they turn into a running back when they get the ball in the open field. Although Tate is a tad faster, when you take size into account, Samuel is the better athlete. I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t deliver a similar career arc to Tate in terms of fantasy production.
As you can see from the chart below, Tate was a slow starter, then things ramped up once he landed in a more favorable situation in Detroit. Like I said before, volume and quality of targets will dictate Samuel’s success. Tate’s career could be indicative of what we could see from Samuel except the peaks and valleys will be at different times and have different ranges.
PROJECTED ROOKIE DRAFT RANGE
According to DLF, Samuel has a Rookie ADP of 10.60, making him a late first-round rookie pick. Personally, I’ve seen him drafted around the 8-5 range in drafts and I’ve seen a few drafts where he slipped to the beginning of the second round. Format matters: Superflex and tight end premium leagues will adjust his value and could allow him to drop to the second-round. If you want him, don’t bank on him falling to the second round, because there’s a good chance that he doesn’t make it out of the top ten. Samuel is one of the top wide receiver prospects in this year’s draft. He’s worth a look in the mid-to-late first round of rookie drafts.