Nearly every 49ers player wants to completely move on from the 2020 season. Wipe the slate clean like last year never happened. Deebo Samuel certainly is part of that group.
After a frustrating second season in the NFL, Samuel has been on a mission in training camp and has opened many eyes, including veteran cornerback Jason Verrett's.
"I just see a hungry player, motivated," Verrett said Tuesday on KNBR's "Papa & Lund." "Definitely, he didn't have the year that he wanted last year, and you could kind of tell this offseason, his mentality shifted to wanting to be the guy.
"Each and every day, he's been going out there in practice, just running and looking like a whole different person."
Samuel impressed as a rookie in 2019 when he proved to be a dual-threat receiver, totaling 961 yards and six touchdowns. This past season, though, Samuel played in just seven games as he dealt with injuries. He finished with 417 total yards and only one touchdown.
The South Carolina product can be perfect for Kyle Shanahan's offense. He also has a great mentor to learn from in receivers coach Wes Welker. The former New England Patriots star has been pleased with Samuel's growth on and off the field this year, too.
“You can tell he really trained the right way this off season and came back in shape,” Welker recently said. “He’s in a row as opposed to taking a play off here and there. I’m really pleased with Deebo and the way he’s prepared himself and he’s starting to become a real pro.”
Behind Brandon Aiyuk and Samuel, the 49ers have plenty of questions at receiver. Can Jalen Hurd stay healthy? Is Mohamed Sanu the answer? How real is Trent Sherfield?
Verrett believes Samuel is benefitting from the group.
"I think it just comes from just the comradery that they've got in that receiving room with Brandon Aiyuk and Mohamed Sanu," Verrett said. "I just think it's a lot of motivation that Deebo has, and he's been looking good."