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Kyle Shanahan hints assistant GM Adam Peters was high on Deebo Samuel early in 2019 draft cycle

The 49ers head coach made Peters’ case to become a GM even stronger.

49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel running against the Rams Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan gave an interesting nod to assistant general manager Adam Peters during his press conference on Monday. Shanahan was asked to reflect on the 2019 Senior Bowl when the 49ers worked closely with Deebo Samuel before selecting him in the second round of that year’s draft.

Shanahan was asked if the Niners foresaw deploying Samuel at running back when he was coming out of South Carolina. Shanahan admitted, “I would like to say we did, but we definitely didn’t try him at running back there, and we never really saw it from him in college.” However, Shanahan made a note of Peters that seemed to imply the assistant general manager was high on Deebo from the start, “And to [assistant general manager] Adam [Peters], he was on that [Deebo Samuel’s physicality] from the beginning and we just found out more about him as we went.”

Samuel, of course, has had a historic 2021 season. After appearing in 16 games, Samuel racked up 15 touchdowns and nearly 1,800 yards from scrimmage. He was easily the Niners’ most dangerous weapon through the air but also emerged as an excellent option out of the backfield at running back as well.

Shanahan’s mention of Peters comes at an interesting time for the top front-office lieutenant. He has received several interviews for general manager positions over the past few years. In fact, the New York Giants have already requested an interview with him this offseason. Samuel’s selection remains one of the best moves in Shanahan’s tenure in San Francisco. By giving Peters some public credit, Shanahan has only strengthened his candidacy to become a top decision-maker.

Here is Shanahan’s full quote:

“We spent our money in some other places and we knew we had to go get a receiver and just looking at the group that we had at the time, we thought it was so important, regardless of what type of receiver we added, that we had to add a physical guy. A guy who could kind of intimidate guys with just how he played, with his size, breaking tackles, things like that. And that’s why we really liked Deebo, whatever his pluses and minuses were, we knew that he was a physical guy and that’s why we knew we needed to add him to our group. And to [assistant general manager] Adam [Peters], he was on that from the beginning and we just found out more about him as we went. And to be able to use his physicality as a receiver has been huge, but now that we’ve been able to add the running back part, it just makes it so much easier to get the ball in his hands.”