— TheSFNiners (@TheSFNiners) July 2, 2020
The 2019 draft class only has one year under its belt, but the wide receiver group looks stacked with talent. DK Metcalf, A.J. Brown, Terry McLaurin, Marquise Brown – just to name a few – all had strong showings in their rookie campaigns.
And the 49ers might have drafted the best from the bunch.
Deebo Samuel, the third wideout off the board, had a stellar year in Santa Clara. The rookie fell just short of 1000 all-purpose yards in the regular season, but kept getting stronger as the season progressed. He even led the team in LIV with nine targets, which goes to show how much Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo trusted their young wider receiver down the stretch.
One of the reasons was he excelled in his first year as a pro was how dynamic he looked in the the open field. Exhibit A:
Week 10 was the first week San Francisco suffered a loss on the season after the Seattle Seahawks stole barn-burner in overtime, but early on everything looked to be going the 49ers’ way.
Up 10-0 on Seattle, Samuel caught a pass over the middle of the field for a first down, breaking three tackles in the process. One of the would-be tacklers was All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner.
So when the Fox Sports’ NFL Twitter account asked what was more difficult, to bring down Derrick Henry in the open field, or break a Bobby Wagner tackle, Samuel was quick to answer.
“Turn the tape on.”
Samuel had two monster games against Seattle. In the Week 10 loss he had 8 receptions for 112 yards. In the Week 17 win the rookie caught every ball thrown his way, good for five receptions and 102 yards, adding 33 rush yards as well.
With the departure of Emmanuel Sanders, the 49ers will rely on Samuel to continue his production next year.
If he keeps playing like he did against Seattle… wouldn’t be difficult.