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Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina

Dave Syvertsen, Ourlads' Senior Draft Analyst
09/18/2020 1:49PM ET

As previously mentioned, the wide receiver class looks very unstable at the top.  Usually the first one drafted at the position is an underclassman, but I don’t see that being the case in 2019.  If it weren’t for his injury suffered in week three last year, Deebo Samuel could have graded out as a first or second round pick for the 2018 class. However injuries seem to be a repeating trend.

After his redshirt season in 2014, Samuel was hampered by a nagging hamstring for most of 2015.  He only got his feet wet early but was able to finish the year off with a 5/104/1 receiving line against #2 Clemson.  He heated back up once 2016 got under way, leading the team in catches and yards and winning the program’s offensive player of the year award.  He did all of that despite missing three games due to more hamstring issues.  Fast forward to last season where Samuel started to really take off to the next level and garner national attention.  In just three games, he caught 15 passes for 250 yards and three touchdowns in addition to two kickoff return scores.  The broken leg then occurred, ending his season and forcing us to wait until 2018 to see what he really is.

Samuel has a thick and stout build for a receiver.  There is an aggressive nature to his game that can fight through press coverage and break tackles after the catch.  If a defender doesn’t bring a physical style of play, Samuel is the kind of player who can take full advantage of it.  While his speed isn’t game breaking, Samuel is a deep threat.  He tracks the ball well and understands body positioning.  In addition, his extension for the ball is almost always timed perfectly.  Rarely do you see him out of control when pursuing the ball in the air.  Samuel’s impact as a returner may not have as much value as it would have prior to all of the changes to kickoffs in the NFL, but there is still a lot to add to his scouting report and how it relates to his ability with the ball in his hands.  In a wide receiver class that lacks that true superstar, Samuel may be the surest bet of them all.