The 49ers selected rookie receiver Deebo Samuel in the second round of the NFL Draft from South Carolina, and he's expected to compete for a starting job right away. Samuel will compete with Marquise Goodwin to be the starter opposite Dante Pettis, but Samuel should be one of the top three receivers for the 49ers this season even if he doesn't start. With Jimmy Garoppolo coming back from last year's torn ACL, this passing game should have the chance to improve in a big way, with Samuel playing a prominent role. Now, obviously, George Kittle will also be a focal point, as will the running backs out of the backfield. But don't be surprised if Samuel is the best wide receiver in San Francisco this season or just behind Pettis. And he could be the best rookie receiver in 2019 given his clear path to targets in the 49ers' offense. He's worth a late-round pick in seasonal leagues and a potential first-round pick in rookie-only drafts.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan indicated that Samuel missed the final two weeks of the offseason program due to a "tweaked groin," Mike Gillespie of ABC Columbia reports. Samuel missed the conclusion of OTAs and the entirety of minicamp with the injury. The missed practice time is concerning for a rookie, but there doesn't seem to be any concern that Samuel's absence will extend into training camp.
Samuel didn't take part in Tuesday's practice due to a suspected minor injury, Matt Barrows of The Athletic reports. Samuel possesses the athletic ability and route-running prowess to potentially contribute as a rookie, but it appears he may be sidelined temporarily by an unknown issue. Barring word of a more significant problem, the 2019 second-round pick will likely rejoin the mix relatively soon.
The 49ers selected Samuel in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, 36th overall. Samuel (5-foot-11, 214 pounds) is a stocky but plenty athletic receiver (4.48-second 40, 39-inch vertical) who boasts natural standout route-running ability along with a long history of doing damage after the catch for South Carolina. After turning 23 in January he may be better suited than most receivers in this class to make an immediate impact, so as long as he can displace Jordan Matthews for snaps then he could push for a starter-like workload in an offense that otherwise figures to feature Dante Pettis and Marquise Goodwin plenty. Even if he can't crack the first team in three-wide sets right away, Samuel at the very least presents standout kick returner potential in the meantime. He's a fine dynasty asset given the general promise surrounding the Kyle Shanahan offense.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/08||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||28||25.00|
|6||10/13||@Los Angeles Rams||19||22.05|
|12||11/24||Green Bay Packers||26||24.75|
|14||12/08||@New Orleans Saints||31||26.67|
|16||12/22||Los Angeles Rams||19||22.05|