If Deebo Samuel is on the field, he can be a huge impact player for the 49ers. That has been a pretty big “if” the past couple of seasons, though.
Samuel has played in 22 of 32 games since the 49ers picked him in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. That hasn’t stopped him from leading NFL wide receivers in missed tackles since then, according to Pro Football Focus.
For only playing in 68.8 percent of your team's games, that's pretty impressive stuff from Samuel.
Samuel has racked up 90 catches for 1,193 yards and scored seven total touchdowns with the 49ers. He has become known for his ability to shed would-be tacklers and get yards after contact. Samuel also has spent a lot of weeks on the injury report, dating back to his time in college at South Carolina.
The 25-year-old didn't the 2020 season on time due to a foot fracture, and he only played in seven games (starting five) due to hamstring issues. But the 49ers are trying to build their wide receiving corps around Samuel and 2020 first-round pick Brandon Aiyuk.
San Francisco brought back Mohamed Sanu on a one-year contract and the free-agent market at wide receiver appears to be drying up, with so many signings since the start of the new league year on March 17. Other notable names still left on the market include veterans like Danny Amendola, Golden Tate, Larry Fitzgerald and Cordarrelle Patterson.
This will be a big season for Samuel as he enters the third season of his four-year rookie deal. He looks like he has the ability to be an explosive playmaker and 1,000-yard receiver for the Niners, but 17 games played would probably be the best statistic he could put up in 2021.
Who will be throwing the receivers the ball next season? That’s another whole can of worms worth opening up, but it will likely be Jimmy Garoppolo or whoever the team selects with the No. 3 pick in the upcoming draft.