Deebo Samuel – WR, South Carolina
There’s a lot to be said about this Gamecocks product. After breaking his leg in 2017, Deebo Samuel’s high draft stock took a hit. But, in 2018, he came back as good and ever and continued to make quarterbacks look good on easy passes.
Although he dealt with a less-than-ideal quarterback situation, Samuel finished his senior year with 62 catches for 882 yards and 11 touchdowns. Even more impressive; 592 of those yards were after the catch, per Pro Football Focus.
Standing in at 5-foot-11 and 214-pounds, Samuel is a tough player to tackle. Combine that size with a never give up attitude, quickness, and a boatload of open-field moves and he should make any QB look good at the next level. He’s not overly fast (4.48 second 40-yard-dash), but he’s so quick that he will be a problem for even the best-tackling safeties and corners.
But Samuel is more complete than you think. His route running is polished and shows excellent comeback skills to the ball. His breaks are clean and knows how to beat soft zone coverage; the only issue I see in this department is his lack of physicality in man coverage. When he breaks out of his route, Samuel shows the ability to catch outside of his frame and secures the catch a consistent basis, despite being thrown some terrible passes.
Final verdict: He is an excellent prospect that was in a terrible situation. If he becomes a bit more physical in press coverage and can be graced with a good QB Samuel can thrive in Kingsbury’s spread offense. I’d put him in an early second round situation. If N’Keal Harry of A.J. Brown isn’t here and Keim wants a receiver, Deebo would be an A1 option.