If 2019 is any indication, Deebo Samuel has a bright future with the San Francisco 49ers, but he’ll still have things to work on. Pro Football Focus has Samuel tied for fourth in missed tackles, but in a tweet highlighting the stat, they also point out he is tied for the most drops with 10.
So some good and some bad. There are some things that Samuel can’t be taught, and that’s his physicality for the ball. He also does not like to be tackled, something he got from watching George Kittle.
But then there are the drops. Drops are something that can quickly go from annoyance to inexhaustible, and some of Deebo’s drops are frustrating. It’s not like he’s the only one on the 49ers doing it. Just look to the Seattle Seahawks debacle to see everyone failing to catch a pass.
But drops are (hopefully) something that can be coached. Again, you can’t coach his physicality or versatility. You can coach him catching the damn ball. Rookies are all going to have areas to improve; now, it’s just a matter of if they can improve it. If he can improve on the drops, the 49ers might have one of the better wide receivers in the league for 2020.
And it’s a good thing because there was a time when they couldn’t draft a wide receiver if their lives depended on it. The Achilles heel of the 49ers drafts has been wide receivers. A running gag during the Trent Baalke years was his inability to draft a pass-catcher. Quinton Patton seemed to be the best one they could find from draft picks and don’t get me started on A.J. Jenkins.
Things are different with Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch. They have managed to find some great pass catchers in the first year via drafting Trent Taylor and picking up Kendrick Bourne from the UDFA slush. They might have finally struck gold, however, with the draft of Deebo Samuel, whose physicality and fifth gear is something the 49ers have been missing and has been a great compliment to Emmanuel Sanders. Not only that, but the 49ers are using him just as his alma mater South Carolina used him: in every position possible.
Samuel could finish with 800 yards receiving in 2020. There will need to be some things to go his way for this to happen, but that would be quite a finish for a rookie season and a strong start to a long career for the 49ers. He’s just what Shanahan likes.
Took the 49ers long enough.