If the 49ers elect to move on from Deebo Samuel this offseason, these four NFL Draft prospects could be pegged as possible replacements.
Don’t anticipate the San Francisco 49ers trading All-Pro wide receiver Deebo Samuel this offseason.
Sure, he might be frustrated at the negotiations surrounding what could be a lucrative contract extension as he enters the final year of his rookie deal, and it’s possible the Niners aren’t coming close to what he’s asking.
And while that whole situation has gotten weird and is casting a dark shadow over San Francisco’s offseason, it’s still important to recognize the fact the 49ers own his rights for another full year.
However, there’s always the remote possibility the Niners entertain trade offers for him anyway, not unlike what happened when they traded Pro Bowl defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft.
That year, San Francisco turned the draft pick acquired for Buckner into his replacement, defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw.
If the 49ers take a similar path with Samuel, one of these four draft prospects could end up being the next in line.
49ers replacement for Deebo Samuel No. 4: Wan’Dale Robinson, Kentucky
Samuel-like players aren’t necessarily anything new to the collegiate ranks, the bigger challenge being how those prospects wind up translating their existing skills over to the pros.
In some regards, Kentucky wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson emulates Samuel in a lot of ways. Both are multifaceted, slippery and can serve as a receiving and rushing target, as shown in Robinson’s all-purpose yards from scrimmage during his time with the Wildcats and, previously, with Nebraska:
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference
“That’s all the things I’ve done in college,” Robinson told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine when compared to Samuel’s skill set. “Even at Nebraska, I was taking a lot of carries. Inside zone, outside zone, doing a lot of different things. At Kentucky, I was able to play a lot of receiver, so I just feel like I have the versatility to do both at a very high level.”
However, while both players are 5-foot-11, Robinson is significantly lighter at 185 pounds and might not absorb the punishment Samuel otherwise takes in his role.
As such, Robinson is likely a Round 3 pick and probably projects as a slot-only kind of receiver.
Still, the versatility might be attractive enough for the Niners to consider if they move Samuel.