Standing 5’11 214 lbs, rookie wide receiver Deebo Samuel has become one of the highlights of this San Francisco 49ers offense thus far. He’s also one of the most productive and dangerous players (weapons) with the ball in his hands.
Through 13 games (9 starts), Deebo has produced the following stat line: 48 receptions, 669 yards, 13.9 yards per reception, three touchdowns, 375 yards of yards after catch (YAC), 98 rushing yards, and a rushing touchdown. He’s also second on the team (and in the NFL) in YAC. Yes, as a rookie!
His most impressive stat, though, is his 14 forced missed tackles, which has him tied for 4th in the NFL. This young man has got it! You know how some running backs are considered a change of pace backs? Well, Deebo is truly a change of pace receiver. In this case, change of pace means the gritty, tough, never back down attitude and can make plays after the catch.
One of his attributes that go unnoticed is his ability to lose his man at the line of scrimmage. I mean, most times he has his man looking for a compass lost, needing to reboot their GPS lost, Finding Nemo lost.
You ever wonder how he’s running so free at times? Well, that’s that footwork/release I was talking about. Still young and developing, but the young man is a beast and can contribute in a variety of ways. For your viewing pleasure, I’ve provided a few of his better performances/touches. As always, we’ll talk afterward. ROLL TAPE!
WR Deebo Samuel played 61 Snaps in Week 11. Should be up for catch of the year, if it were college it would be. Stats: 8 Receptions, 134 Yards, 16.8 Avg, 26 Long. #49ers #DeeboSamuel @19problemz #GoNiners pic.twitter.com/Da1ah5OVua— 49er_Edits (@49er_edits) November 21, 2019
WR Deebo Samuel played 55 Snaps in Week 13. Stats: 2 Receptions, 41 Yards, 20.5 Avg, 1 TD, 33 Long, 1 Rush for 20 Yards. #49ers #DeeboSamuel @19problemz #QBD #QuietButDeadly #YACMachine #GoNiners pic.twitter.com/hpopSqQe2M— 49er_Edits (@49er_edits) December 6, 2019
Rookie WR Deebo Samuel has yet another big game in Week 14 as being one of Kyle’s top 3. What do you notice every time he touches the ball? Stats: 5 Receptions, 76 Yards, 15.2 Avg, 25 Long, 2 Rushes, 33 Rush Yards, 16.5 Yards & 31 Long. #49ers #DeeboSamuel @19problemz #GoNiners pic.twitter.com/q4evjt6quC— 49er_Edits (@49er_edits) December 13, 2019
As you can see, Deebo can make plays in a number of ways. One of the things I love most about Deebo, he never runs out of bounds trying to avoid contact. Instead, he looks to stay in bounds, looks for contact, and fights for every yard he can get until that whistle blows. You can’t teach that!
His father definitely picked the right name, because he certainly Deebo’s defenders most times.
While he’s not of George Kittle status in terms of stiff arms, he does have a mean one. Whether it’s a jet sweep, reverse, bubble screen, or just simply a pass to Deebo, once the ball is in his hands, he has the potential to turn it into a big play and run through or around you. In addition to his toughness, he also runs great routes, is physical, he’s a dawg, and a monster after the catch. I mean, you don’t just end up second on the team and in the NFL in YAC and 4th in forced missed tackles by being scared of contact.
As you know, Deebo is a rookie and still has growing and learning to do. As a rookie and new to the NFL, one of his flaws being so raw, is attempting to catch passes with his body. Because of this flaw, he currently leads the team in drops (9). As both a fan, former wide receiver, and coach, I get most times drops are with bad hands.
Though he did have a pretty bad drop last week vs., Atlanta using his hands, it wasn’t bad hands that caused the dropped pass. It was more him not being ready for the snap, as he was trying to simultaneously run his route and put his glove on his left hand.
This resulted in a perfect pass from Jimmy Garappolo going right through his hands (and glove) falling incomplete.
So though it was a clear drop and most drops are blamed on the receiver not having good hands, that’s not the case here. Deebo just wasn’t ready. I’d even venture to say he didn’t expect the ball. But based upon the focus on getting Kittle the ball and lack of getting anyone else the ball, I’m sure he didn’t think the ball was coming to him. Yeah, my advice here, “stay ready so you don’t have to get ready.”
Aside from the drop last week, he’s caught multiple passes with his hands. If Deebo can get past trying to trap passes, allowing the ball to get into his pads, he’d be golden. Long story short, even with his nine drops on the season, it would behoove the 49ers to get Deebo involved early and often. It doesn’t matter how, just get him the ball, get his confidence going, stabilized, and sustained by getting him touches.
So, I’m sure you’re thinking, “did this guy dedicate an article to a rookie that has nine dropped passes? Well, yes I did. I want to remind you that the great Hall of Fame, greatest of all time, wide receiver Rice dropped ten passes in 11 games, as stated in the quote below.
”The 49ers, fresh off a victory in Super Bowl XIX, were 6-5 and fighting for their playoff lives. Joe Montana’s passing numbers were off. Rice, the team’s top draft pick, had 26 receptions in 11 games, but he also dropped 10 balls, some of them at the worst possible times. He was coming off a game in which he dropped two passes, fumbled once, and caught just one pass. Niners fans booed the rookie; local columnists made him the butt of jokes. Freddie Solomon, a respected veteran who caught touchdown passes in 10 straight games in 1984, had become the invisible man in the Niners offense while Montana and Rice played pitch ‘n’ drop.” (via footballoutsiders.com)
So, Rice had 10 drops in 11 games, and Deebo has 9 in 13 games. Not saying Deebo will match or exceed the accomplishments of Jerry, but what I am saying is, don’t be so quick to write him off. Trust the process. Look, the further into the postseason this team goes, the deeper they’ll have to look into their depth chart to make plays.
It’s just that simple. As it stands, teams do their best to take away the running game first, and Kittle second, and Emmanuel Sanders third. In a perfect world, this team would be hurting in terms of options and playmakers but seeing as how this is the 2019 49ers, no problem. Trust in and insert Deebo.
Why, Deebo, you may ask? To that, I say 48, 669, 365, and 14. Those are his receptions, yards, YAC, and forced missed tackles. Give him a chance! He’s a game-breaker people and can change the game with one touch. He just needs his opportunities. Speaking of opportunities, Deebo has an opportunity to break a record of his own.
Though it’s been mentioned that Deebo needs 268 yards to break the rookie receiving record of the great Jerry Rice, with two games left, it’s not likely. While that would be a great accomplishment, there is another franchise record Deebo is well within reach of breaking. With 48 receptions on the season, he would need four more receptions to break the franchise record for rookie receptions (51), currently held by Gene Washington in 1969.
My @49ers faithful, I had to share as I didn't know until @xRB49x asked. Q: Who holds the 49ers for receptions by a rookie WR? So I looked it up. A: Gene Washington (51) in 1969. @19problemz has 47 now, 5 more he'll break that record. Let's go Deebo. How may new this? Interesting pic.twitter.com/zK00sbYPMp— Kev Mitchell (@Silverado_Kev) December 14, 2019
From the way it looks, Deebo won’t break the rookie receiving yards record of Rice, and that’s okay as he’s still had a great rookie season and contributed greatly. That said, why not get him involved more, early, and also give him the opportunity to put his name in the record books. I’m sure we can find four more receptions for Deebo. Not to mention, he can turn a standard reception into a highlight.
Down the stretch and into the playoffs, the 49ers will need contributions from everywhere they can get them. Trust and believe, Deebo is, without a doubt, a resource for said contributions. So long as Jimmy has the time to do so and sees him, Deebo needs his touches. Let’s go Niners, spread the ball around, and use every playmaker you have. LET’S GO DOMINATE!