No. 2: SF 49ers WR Deebo Samuel
After a stellar rookie season, second-year wideout Deebo Samuel has faced his fair share of setbacks during the 2020 season.
He started the season with an injured foot, which held him out of the first three weeks of the season before posting solid games in wins over the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots in consecutive weeks.
But on a bizarre play at the end of that game in New England, head coach Kyle Shanahan called a pitch to Samuel from out of the backfield. The receiver was stopped before reaching the line of scrimmage, and then pulled up short and reached for his lower leg.
Every SF 49ers fan held his or her breath.
While the injury wasn’t as bad as it originally appeared, it was a hamstring issue that has held Samuel out of the last three games, removing another weapon from the arsenal for backup quarterback Nick Mullens, who is filling in for the again-injured Jimmy Garoppolo.
Having Samuel to pair with up-and-coming rookie wideout Brandon Aiyuk and now-healthy tight end Jordan Reed would be a major boon for the SF 49ers’ offense through the remainder of the season.
If there’s any chance of the team remaining competitive through the final stretch of the season, the offense will need to manage more than the 19 points they’ve averaged over the past three contests.
Samuel will be a key cog in helping to make that happen.