Deebo Samuel has evolved into a one-of-a-kind player, and the 49ers receiver has created a name for his unique position.
“Wide-back,” Samuel said on Friday. “A receiver that plays running back.”
The name would only be more appropriate if the third-year player had figured out a way to incorporate the word quarterback into the moniker, after throwing a successful touchdown pass to Jauan Jennings in the club’s regular-season finale.
The third-year wide receiver was voted to the Associated Press All-Pro team after totaling 77 receptions for 1,405 yards, six touchdowns along with 59 carries for 365 yards and an additional eight rushing touchdowns.
“It’s a blessing,” Samuel said on Friday. “All praise to God. Thankful to be an All-Pro. It just shows that all the things I put out on the field, week in and week out, just giving it my all. It’s just a blessing to be named All-Pro.”
49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel knows what a special player he has in Samuel and while the NFL is known to be a copy-cat league, duplicating what the versatile receiver does is difficult.
“The problem is there’s one Deebo,” McDaniel said on Thursday. “He’s a rare player that for him to be able to contribute in the way he does, shoot, it’s taken time for us to adjust just because you’re going step-by-step with a player learning your offense.
“You want him to master stuff before you move on and we’ve learned this year that, ‘Hey, this guy can handle more things within our system.’ And we can find different ways to get him the ball because he’s truly special at doing so.”
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Samuel truly has improved leaps and bounds over his sophomore season when he only appeared in seven games. The wide receiver took the offseason seriously and his improved conditioning led to more opportunities on the field. Kyle Shanahan and McDaniel seem to find new ways to utilize his skill set each week.
Samuel’s production as a ball carrier is even more impressive as he ranks second in rushing yards on the team, behind only rookie Elijah Mitchell, who has totaled 207 carries for 963 yards and five touchdowns.
On Sunday, the 49ers will attempt to take advantage of using Samuel in multiple positions and pre-snap motions to confuse a very physical Dallas Cowboys defense.