49ers 2019 NFL Draft prospect profile: Wide receiver Deebo Samuel

COLUMBIA, MO - SEPTEMBER 9: Deebo Samuel #1 of the South Carolina Gamecocks waits with teammate to take to the field prior to a game against the Missouri Tigers in the first quarter at Memorial Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, MO - SEPTEMBER 9: Deebo Samuel #1 of the South Carolina Gamecocks waits with teammate to take to the field prior to a game against the Missouri Tigers in the first quarter at Memorial Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /
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The San Francisco 49ers have had eyes on South Carolina wide receiver Deebo Samuel, and there’s a good chance they could take him on day two of the 2019 NFL Draft.

The San Francisco 49ers don’t necessarily need to select a wide receiver in the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft.

But it would be a good idea if they did.

This, especially after a year in which no Niners wideout reached 500 receiving yards. True, San Francisco should expect more from second-year pro Dante Pettis, and signing free-agent receiver Jordan Matthews should help extend the depth chart a bit.

Still, head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense would benefit from yet another pass catcher capable of creating separation and serving as another reliable option for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in coming years.

Enter South Carolina wide receiver Deebo Samuel.

Deebo Samuel Receiving & Rushing Table
ReceReceReceReceRushRushRushRush
YearSchoolConfClassPosGRecYdsAvgTDAttYdsAvgTD
2015South CarolinaSECFRWR51216113.41000
*2016South CarolinaSECSOWR105978313.3115986.56
*2017South CarolinaSECJRWR31525016.7323015.01
*2018South CarolinaSECSRWR126288214.2118263.30
CareerSouth Carolina148207614.016251546.27

Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 4/2/2019.

Samuel had the luxury of working under Shanahan’s South squad during the 2019 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. And by all accounts, Samuel had a great week of workouts.

Would that be enough to entice Shanahan and Co. to take a day-two flier on the promising receiver?

Deebo Samuel’s Strengths

At 5-foot-11 and 214 pounds, Samuel isn’t exactly the big-bodied presence the Niners would be seeking at a prototypical Z-receiver spot.

That said, Samuel’s physical presence is more than enough to make up for his relative lack of height. In fact, one might compare his on-field efforts to those of a former 49ers wideout, Pierre Garçon, who didn’t boast the size but had a sense of meanness to him.

Samuel also fights for the ball, which is something a number of San Francisco pass catchers have lacked in recent years. And while he might not be the fastest receiver out there — a trait Shanahan prefers — Samuel is more than adept at creating separation.

All you need to do is consider this practice-rep red-zone drill at the scouting combine, courtesy of NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco:

If anything, Shanahan might actually prefer route-running technique over speed, demonstrated by his interest in Garçon two years ago.

Deebo Samuel’s Weaknesses

The lack of speed is something to note, as Samuel ran an only average 4.48 40-yard time at the combine. That’s not terrible, per se. Yet there isn’t much to his top-end speed, and Samuel can struggle with the acceleration necessary to truly take advantage of his initial separation skills.

Samuel also had some issues at South Carolina dealing with bigger defensive backs jamming him at the line of coverage. When his footwork went awry, Samuel could essentially be taken out of plays.

It won’t get easier at the pro level.

There are also a number of injury concerns with Samuel, which have certainly dropped his NFL Draft stock. He’s had hamstring issues, and last year was the only season in which Samuel participated fully healthy.

Given the Niners’ issues with health lately, this could be a red flag.

Potential Fit with the 49ers

Putting aside some of the concerns, it’s hard to envision a scenario in which Shanahan wouldn’t want a receiver like Samuel on his roster.

Shanahan has worked to make receivers more complete before. The 2017 version of speedy wideout Marquise Goodwin is a prime example, and some of Samuel’s shortcomings in route running could likely be addressed with coaching.

The good news, however, is Samuel is on when he’s on.

Depending on how the draft pans out, it’s like the South Carolina receiver is going to wind up being selected somewhere between the latter stages of Round 2 and perhaps early into Round 3. San Francisco owns the No. 36 overall pick (Round 2) and the No. 67 overall pick (Round 3).

Remember, the 49ers traded up for Pettis a year ago, and there’s always the chance it happens again if Shanahan and general manager John Lynch don’t feel as if Samuel will fall to the third round.

That said, with only six picks in this year’s draft, San Francisco might hope Samuel simply slips far enough for the Niners to grab him.

dark. Next. 2019 NFL Draft: Full Round 1 mock with trades

The 2019 NFL Draft kicks off on Thursday, April 25 from Nashville, Tennessee.