San Francisco

Samuel, Hurd Have Routes to Success With 49ers

Their strengths as route runners fit in nicely with what Garoppolo's strengths are as a quarterback

Rookie wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd could be terrific fits for the 49ers offense and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

San Francisco drafted Samuel in the second round out of South Carolina and Hurd in the third round out of Baylor, and head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch each said at the time that they love how physical both wide receivers play.

It also appears the strength in route-running of Samuel and Hurd should adapt well to Shanahan’s passing attack and the type of passes Garoppolo throws best.

This week, in fact, Cam Mellor of the analytic website Pro Football Focus looked at Samuel and Hurd as part of an analysis on how each of 13 wide receivers taken in the first three rounds fits with his new team, and found it to be a good match for both with the 49ers.

Mellor notes Samuel excelled on slant routes at South Carolina and that Garoppolo also has good numbers throwing slants during his time in the NFL with the Patriots and 49ers. Mellor says Samuel often turned short slant receptions into big gains with his ability to break tackles and separate from defenders. And Garoppolo has completed 28-of-38 slant passes for 356 yards and three TDs.

Wrote Mellor: "A full, healthy year and a big target like Samuel over the middle of the field should only increase those numbers."

Hurd, meanwhile, was terrific running in routes from the slot position, making 13 catches on those routes in 2018 for 12 first downs. The former running back – who played just one season at wideout in college – is believed to have great potential at his new position.

"He’s a threat to get open with his big frame on just about any route, but he really showed that on in routes over the middle of the field that he’s taking to the receiver position nicely," wrote Mellor.

Last season, Garoppolo threw 77 passes on in routes and completed 51 of them for 714 yards. Adding Hurd should help even more in 2019.

Wrote Mellor: "It was one of his (Garoppolo’s) higher-graded route concepts during his injury-shortened season and Hurd’s insertion gives him now a legit threat over the middle from the slot."

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