Deebo Samuel: Fantasy Football Sleeper

Welcome to the 48 Report, a full working database including 48 of our favorite 2019 Draft Prospects. The key, however, is that we focus specifically on their ability to translate as fantasy football players. All players in the database have been/will be scored by 3 writers, and this is their article; explaining their aggregate score, as well as the score of their writer.

All categories are scored on a 1-5 scale; with 5 being the highest score a prospect can receive. The highest aggregate average scores a player can receive is 25. Articles will be posted January-April, all the way up to the draft. Ratings will be adjusted after the combine, based on measurables and after the draft, because as we all know: landing spot matters.

Deebo Samuel (6’0”, 214), Wide Receiver, South Carolina

15.3 Aggregate Score (3 Star Prospect)

Deebo Samuel is another prospect that has been gaining quite a bit of hype during the pre-draft process.  Samuel was one of the notable standouts all week at this years Reese’s Senior Bowl and followed that up with a good combine performance. Based on his combine, Samuel earned a SPARQ score of 118.5, which puts him in the 85th percentile.   Due to all of these different factors, Samuel has become a consensus top 10 wide receiver in this class.

Samuel was a 3-star recruit out of Inman, South Carolina.  While at Chapman High School, Samuel logged 166 catches for 2,751 yards and 36 touchdowns.  Samuel also add 133 rush attempts for 898 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground.  After receiving offers from Appalachian State, East Carolina and Maryland, Samuel decided to attend South Carolina.

College Production

Samuel’s college production is not ideal.  Mainly due to injuries, Samuel failed to put up 1,000 receiving yards in a single season.  In his freshman, sophomore and junior season, Samuel had a combined 86 receptions for 1,280 yards and 5 touchdowns.  Then in his senior season, Samuel played in 12 games and totaled 62 receptions for 882 yards and 11 touchdowns.  Samuel was a Second Team All-SEC selection as a wide receiver.  Samuel also added 7 rushing touchdowns and 4 kick return touchdowns in his career at South Carolina.

The injuries are definitely concerning.  In his freshman and sophomore year, Samuel was constantly battling hamstring injuries.  His junior year, he broke his leg in a game against Kentucky.  I really liked watching Samuel’s film, but the hamstring issues leave me hesitant to buy all the way in on Samuel.

Speed/Acceleration: Aggregate Score: 5 (Personal Score: 5)

Samuel is extremely fast!  His upside is huge mainly because he has the speed to turn any play into a huge one.  He releases well off the line of scrimmage, which allows him to create a lot of space in his routes.  He accelerates extremely quickly after the catch.  He is a YAC monster that will really hurt a defense if given any space.

Route Running: Aggregate Score: 2.3 (Personal Score: 3)

From what I saw, Samuel is a decent route runner.  Samuel does a good job off creating separation and finding space.  The major concerns for our staff are that he ran a limited route tree and he seemed to rely on speed to create separation.  The majority of his routes run were screens, slants and outs.  This may very well be because that was part of the South Carolina scheme, but it would have been nice to see a bit more of a variety in his routes.

Blocking: Aggregate Score: 2 (Personal Score: 2)

The best way to describe Samuel’s blocking is inconsistent.  He shows a few instances of being able to engage with defenders, but for the most part, Samuel seems disinterested in blocking.  There are many instances of not giving effort and him attaching to a defender who already has someone blocking them when there are other defenders in the area.  Samuel really needs to buy into blocking if he wants to be on the field consistently early on in his career.

Handwork/Positioning: Aggregate Score: 2 (Personal Score: 2)

As I mentioned in his route running, Samuel relies on his speed to get open.  Samuel rarely went against press coverage, but when he did, he showed no handwork and relied on his ability to just run past defensive backs.  This is a major hole in his game.  In the NFL, defensive backs are going to be able to be physical with him at the line of scrimmage and be able to keep up with him.  If he stays primarily in the slot, this issue may be minimized or completely covered up.

Athleticism: Aggregate Score: 4 (Personal Score: 4)

Samuel’s athletic test scores definitely translate to his tape.  Samuel displays good elusiveness and contact balance after the catch.  He’s by no means a jump ball specialist, but he displayed pretty good hops on the film.  His athleticism really shows up when he is returning kicks.  Samuel displays a combination of great speed and athleticism which make him a game-changer when returning kicks.

Conclusion: Early 2nd round Target

Currently, I’m not at the point where I’d be willing to spend a 1st round rookie pick on Samuel.  I have concerns with his injury history, limited route tree and lack of handwork/footwork to help create separation.  Now, I do think there is promise for Samuel.  With his speed and athleticism, a team may fall in love with him and spend an early Day 2 pick on him.  If this happens and he goes to a team that has a need for a slot receiver, I could see spending a late 1st rounder on him.  Samuel has a ton of upside, but landing spot is going to be a huge factor in determining how much I will be willing to pay for him.

Published by

Mike Colaianne

Mike is a recent college graduate, now teaching Physical Education in the Chicagoland area. Growing up as a die-hard Chicago sports fan (except the Cubs), he has always had a passion for sports. As a P.E. teacher with way too much time on his hands, Mike quickly started to gain a new passion, fantasy football. When not teaching, he can be found either coaching lacrosse or watching his Chicago sports teams. Find him on twitter @theFF_MikeC

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