The 49ers have done quite a bit to upgrade their wide receiver corps this offseason, first adding veteran free agent Jordan Matthews and then taking South Carolina’s Deebo Samuel in Round 2 and Baylor’s Jalen Hurd in Round 3 of the just-completed NFL draft.
But it may be Samuel who turns out to be the gem of this group.
Samuel, who is 6-feet tall and 210 pounds, is known for his toughness and ability to make plays once the ball is in his hands.
In 12 games for the Gamecocks this past season he had 62 catches for 882 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Steve Palazzolo of the analytic website Pro Football Focus included Samuel in his roundup of drafted players he believes will be the best fits for their new NFL teams.
Writes Palazzolo: “Head coach Kyle Shanahan covets receivers with route-running skills, and that’s where Samuel fits in with the 49ers’ offense. He is shifty enough to create separation both outside and in the slot, and his aggressive after-the-catch skills led to an impressive 40 missed tackles forced on only 148 career catches. Expect Samuel to move around the formation while adding a receiving threat at all three levels of the field.”
ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay also believes Samuel is a great fit with the San Francisco system and with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
McShay wrote Samuel “will be a playmaker” for the QB, “competing for balls in traffic and picking up yardage after the catch.”
McShay noted Samuel was versatile and effective at multiple positions in college, scoring seven times as a ballcarrier and four times on kick returns.
Added McShay: “He’s just really fun to watch with the ball in his hands and is a physical receiver who is built like a running back. Every time he touches the ball, there’s big-play potential.”