49ers WR Deebo Samuel must avoid sophomore slump
By Peter Panacy
Why Deebo Samuel improves with 49ers in 2020
Jones fractures can take between eight to 16 weeks to fully recover. Some look at what happened with fellow wideout Trent Taylor, as he suffered a similar injury in 2019, and be worried. But Taylor dealt with all kinds of complications and had five surgeries to repair the damage.
If Samuel avoids that misfortune and returns on time, there’s little reason to expect he’ll be even more potent with a full year’s service under Kyle Shanahan.
One of the elements to consider when looking at Samuel’s growth is to evaluate the complexity of routes run. Week 10 against the Seattle Seahawks — eight catches for 112 yards — illustrates just how varied Shanahan’s use of Samuel was in offensive-receiving formations, as the NextGen Stats chart points out below:
The ability to master these routes and line up from essentially anywhere on the field shows Samuel’s maturity right out of the gate.
If one subscribes to the notion players make their biggest leaps, improvement-wise, between years one and two, it’s not hard to understand why Samuel could find himself in the range of a 1,000-yard receiver.
In fact, one should expect those numbers to go up as he’ll no longer be playing second fiddle to Emmanuel Sanders, rather emerging as the go-to target for Shanahan’s pass offense at the position in support of tight end George Kittle.