Asante Samuel Jr, the ballhawk cornerback from Florida State, has been brought up a ton in pre-draft conversations. His draft stock has stirred up tons of arguments surrounding how good he really is. This may, in part, be due to the fact that his dad is Asante Samuel, 2 time Superbowl champion and a 4-time pro bowler. While Samuel Jr is no doubt an incredible player regardless of his dad, these conversations are bound to happen with any star athlete’s son. However Asante Samuel Jr has seemed to rise above the hype, and over his college career, he’s proven that he is not only capable of being an NFL cornerback, but is capable of being a good one too.
Asante Samuel Jr Stats And Measurables:
College: Florida State
Weight: 183 lbs
2018 Stats: 11 Games/15 TOTAL/13 SOLO/9 PD
2019 Stats: 12 Games/48 TOTAL/34 SOLO/1 INT/14 PD
2020 Stats: 8 Games/30 TOTAL/22 SOLO/1 FF/2 FR/3 INT/ 6 PD
1. Much like his dad, Asante Samuel Jr is a ballhawk. He’s had 29 pass deflections and 4 interceptions during his time at Florida State, and he just has a knack for always being around the ball. He breaks on the ball correctly and efficiently, which pays off in the form of these pass breakups or interceptions. He takes good angles to the ball and it usually puts him in the right place to make a play.
2. His man coverage skills are very polished as well. Samuel Jr flips his hips very quickly and with a fluidity which helps him react to routes much faster so he can cover them. His reactions are quick and he’s quick enough to catch up to a receiver before they can really get open. Few receivers were able to get any separation on Samuel Jr just because of his ability to stick with receivers in man coverage. This was the main reason he was matched up with the opponent’s best receiver every game, he was able to completely shut them down almost every time.
3. Samuel Jr’s athleticism is another area where he shows prowess. He is very fast and it helps him fit into the outside cornerback role very well. He’s able to keep up with pretty much everybody on the field, and he was never outmatched athletically in college. He can keep up step for step with some of college football’s fastest receivers, which will really be an important tool for him in the NFL as a slightly undersized cornerback. His athleticism also has helped him get out of some bad spots or situations. Whenever Samuel Jr is out of position, he is usually able to rely on his speed to reposition himself. Again, this is a very important skill to have in the NFL because recovering when your beat is paramount, as you are bound to get beat sometimes, and knowing how to react and recover is extremely helpful.
1. Even with all of Samuel Jr’s skills, his size is a major concern. He seems too undersized to play against bigger receivers such as Julio Jones and D.K Metcalf. Even though this would most likely just mean he would have smaller matchups, it does limit his ability to move around, and it would also limit the defense. Again, while this may not entirely affect his play, it will give him more limitations on who he can cover.
2. Another flaw in Samuel Jr’s game is his tackling. He usually has no problem with getting physical, however, his tackling form needs improvement and his tackles are shed often. This is definitely something that is usually fixed pretty easily with lots of practice, but it is still most definitely a weakness in Samuel Jr’s game right now. Again, Samuel Jr is a very physical cornerback, he has no problem engaging in contact, but once engaged he struggles to complete a tackle.
Asante Samuel Jr has done a great job of rising above the hype surrounding him stirred up from his dad’s NFL success, and he has made a legitimate name for himself. He’s proved he has the skills to succeed at the next level, now we just have to wait and see how it plays out. If all goes well, Samuel Jr’s upside will have an immediate impact on any team, and he could end up being a very important player for a franchise. His skills as a ball hawk are remarkable and this combined with his coverage ability give him a college highlight reel for the ages. His athleticism allows him to keep up with other receivers very well. He may be viewed as a hit or miss prospect partially, but if he can reach his full potential he will be a very special player.