Deebo Samuel showed flashes of his sky-high potential during his rookie season with the 49ers.

The South Carolina product hauled in 57 catches for 802 yards and three touchdowns. With mentor Emmanuel Sanders now in New Orleans with the Saints, the 49ers will look to Samuel fill the void as their No. 1 wide receiver. The 6-foot wide receiver has all the tools to be just that, but former teammate Joe Staley believes the ceiling is even higher for Samuel.

“Basically, he’s one of the most talented rookies I’ve ever seen,” Staley told Chris Biderman of The Sacramento Bee.  “I was just telling him how important this offseason is and he can be the greatest receiver in the NFL. Just to work really hard this offseason and use this as motivation.”

Samuel undoubtedly has the physical tools and electric playmaking ability to be a trendsetting wide receiver in the era of wide-open NFL offenses. Samuel is a fast, strong wide receiver who excels after the catch. Coach Kyle Shanahan tried to get the ball into his hands any way possible during the back-half of Samuel's rookie season.

While Samuel will enter the 49ers' 2020 "Revenge Tour" season as the top wide receiver, he won't be asked to carry a heavy burden. All-Pro tight end George Kittle still will be the top option in the passing game, and the addition of rookie wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk should help open things up for Samuel and make his life easier.

 

[RELATED: What 49ers were warned about Deebo by Muschamp]

After a solid rookie season in the Bay, there's a lot of reasons to expect Samuel to take a leap in Year 2.

From what Staley has seen, those leaps might just keep coming until Samuel is the best in the game.

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