NAME: Deebo Samuel
SCHOOL: South Carolina
CLASS: RS Senior
RECRUITMENT RATING: 3-star
WT: 214 lbs
Speed: Not a burner by any means but has enough speed to challenge defensive backs vertically. Also explosive in short areas. Can blow past receivers with sudden movements of quickness. No problems going 0-100.
Route Running: One of the best route runners in the class. His tree is complete and he runs every route well. Concise footwork allows him to get in and out of his breaks in a hurry. Also uses short area quickness to snap off his stems with no wasted steps. Can lineup all over the field because of route versatility.
Hands: Natural catcher of the football. Adjusts his hands to the ball very well and can extend to make catches away from his body. Most of his drops come in high point situations but throws were usually really bad. Hard to accurately evaluate these instances.
Releases: Releases are extremely nuanced and intricate. Has no issues beating press coverage with his hands or footwork. Does great job of not allowing defenders to get into his chest. Also changes up the pace and timing of his releases. Always keeps defenders guessing and never shows them the same looks. Lastly, embarrassed all of the corners at the Senior Bowl. They could not touch Samuel at the LOS.
Body Control: Body control skills are evident. Knows how to adjust to the ball and put himself in the optimal positions to make catches. Does a good job shielding off defenders as well. Toe tapping and dragging by the sideline also comes very natural to Samuel.
Contested Catch: Obviously not the tallest receiver at 5’11 but still can make contested catches at a decent rate. Flashes the ability to elevate offer defensive backs to make grabs but won’t make a living doing so. Issues with drops flare up the most in these situations. Definitely more comfortable winning on the ground with separation than in the air.
YAC Ability: Possesses phenomenal contact balance, elusiveness, and burst that cause tacklers serious issues. Tends to create positive yards when ever the defense give him any type of daylight. Thrives with screens, jets, sweeps, or any other type of manufactured touch plays. Truly a space player.
Blocking: Results were mixed. Has reps were he absolutely levels opponents. But then there are reps where he looks disinterested to get physical when blocking.. More bad reps than good. Needs to show better effort in this area.
Best Trait: YAC Ability/Releases
Worst Trait: Blocking
Best Film: Clemson (2018)
Worst Film: Texas A&M (2018)
Deebo Samuel’s production was hampered by bad quarterback play and injuries throughout his time at South Carolina. His film does not lie though. His ability to separate, create positive yardage, and challenge all parts of the field is extremely impressive.
Now many see him as just a slot receiver at the pro level but I believe he can succeed anywhere a team lines up. His prowess as a route runner allows him to do a variety of things and makes him a plug and play starter from day 1. That said, I don’t see transcendent talent with Samuel, so where he lands will matter. But if he ends up in the right situation, he could be a pro bowler by year 2 or 3.