Poised for a breakout year Deebo Samuel’s junior season was over almost as soon as it started with a broken fibula in the third game of the season. Instead of a big year coming off of a 783 yard sophomore that help propel him into the 2018 NFL Draft we have Samuel back in college football as one of the top receivers in the nation. Let’s get to know Deebo a little bit better.
Who is Deebo Samuel
Lining up on the left side of the formation Samuel plays both outside and in the slot often moved around to get the ball into his hands. Samuel has solid size at 6’0 210lbs but his best physical traits are his above average athleticism and speed that allows him not only to separate in coverage but also make plays with the ball in his hands.
Deebo Samuel Hands
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) August 1, 2017
6’0 isn’t small for a receiver but we often see receivers at that size are known more as being run and catch receivers who are not going to win many contested catches. That is a myth with Samuel who not only is a hands catcher on comeback and out based routes, but he displays the ability to go up and high point the ball. Samuel tracks the ball well on his deep routes showing the ability to adjust and go attack the ball rather than watching it. With Samuel’s catching radius if you throw the ball in the vicinity to him, he’s going to be able to make a play on it.
Deebo Samuel the Route Runner
Samuel is far from a great route runner but he does show the ability to create separation from defenders. Using a quick stutter step and his acceleration he’s able to beat press coverage at the line of scrimmage but also uses that same burst at the stem of his routes. Samuel has the ability to run routes with success at all three levels mainly because he has the quickness out of his breaks on the shorter routes and enough speed to get downfield. On his vertical routes he can manipulate defenders by starting one direction to get them to lean before breaking the opposite direction to get the leverage.
Outlook for Deebo Samuel
If Samuel is able to fully recover from his broken Fibula then Samuel should reemerge as one of the best receivers in college football once again. Samuel may not have elite size and speed but he provides a receiver who knows how to get open and is a threat with the ball in the air. There isn’t great touchdown production (5 career TDs) from Samuel but he did have 3 TDs in three games in 2017 and a full season in 2018 should only produce more scores. If he’s able to do that there is no reason that Samuel cannot be a early day two pick.