Deebo Samuel – WR, South Carolina
Deebo Samuel could be just the playmaker Kliff Kingsbury needs. He’s made subpar quarterbacks look good in the past with his tenacious style of play, versatility, developed route-tree, and yard after the catch ability. Because of those traits, Samuel looks to be a perfect fit in Kingsbury’s Air Raid that emphasizes creating after the catch.
Samuel has built a name for himself as one of the best receivers after the catch in the 2019 draft class. He has a 5-foot-11, 214-pound frame built like a running back with the shiftiness, toughness, and vision of one to boot. Per Pro Football Focus, nearly 60% of his receiving yards were after the catch (1,244). He used those some ball carrier talents when he took four kick returns to the house at South Carolina.
But the South Carolina standout isn’t a one-trick-pony. What he lacks in explosiveness, he makes up for in smooth athleticism, speed (4.48 second 40-yard-dash), and an array of press-beating moves. His dedication to route-running is apparent; he can sell breaks well, win off of proper leverage alone, and has an extensive route-tree.
Samuel can also hit the second gear when he needs to and was seen as a versatile chess piece while playing for the Gamecocks. However, his lack of explosiveness and stocky frame continue to be a concern. While he’s a consistent catcher, his average catch radius meant he saw a lot of action on screens and slants (which he thrives in).
Samuel compares very favorably to the talent that Murray has worked with in the past and is an ideal fit in the Air Raid. He has little trouble creating separation and can churn out yards after the catch. Whether he’s inserted in the slot or outside, the former South Carolina Gamecock could be a powerful chess piece in the Cardinals offense.