NFL Draft 2019: 49ers pick Deebo Samuel at No. 36 to improve passing attack

NFL Draft 2019: 49ers pick Deebo Samuel at No. 36 to improve passing attack

After bolstering the defense with their first-round pick of the 2019 NFL Draft, the 49ers addressed the offensive side of the ball in the second round.

San Francisco selected South Carolina wide receiver Deebo Samuel with the No. 36 overall pick of the draft on Friday, the fourth pick of the second round.

Samuel played for the 49ers-coached South squad at the Senior Bowl. He'll join Nick Bosa and the rest of his new teammates on the field for the 49ers' rookie minicamp May 3 through May 5.

Here's the full breakdown on Samuel:

Deebo Samuel

Position: Wide receiver
College: South Carolina
Height: 5-11
Weight: 214
Selection: Second round (No. 36 overall)  

Scouting report

Samuel played four seasons at South Carolina and had his best season in 2018 with 62 catches for 882 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has good speed, but his strength is his route-running and run-after-the-catch prowess.

“While Samuel is tough and competitive, he lacks suddenness and might need scheme help with motion and bunch formations to help free him against NFL man coverage,” analyst Lance Zierlein wrote in his scouting report on NFL.com. “He is a gamer who thrives once the ball is in his hands, and he might be able to help a team from the slot if he can stay healthy.”

Samuel had a strong showing during the week of practices at the Senior Bowl, on the 49ers-coached South squad. He is not tall, but he is a good target in the red zone due to his ability to get open quickly.

Projected role

The 49ers were looking for another starting wide receiver to pair with Dante Pettis, the team’s second-round pick last year, and Samuel is that guy. Coach Kyle Shanahan was very impressed with Samuel from their time together at the Senior Bowl.

Marquise Goodwin has been a starter, but coach Kyle Shanahan would like to dial back his role in order to better-utilize his unique speed. Kendrick Bourne finished last season as a team’s starter and led the club’s wideouts with 42 receptions for 487 yards and four touchdowns. The 49ers also added veteran receiver Jordan Matthews with a one-year free-agent contract.

The 49ers’ top receiving target last season was George Kittle, who set the NFL single-season record for a tight end with 1,377 yards receiving. The 49ers’ main priority on offense in the draft was to create better balance in the passing game.  

What they’re saying

“Just versatility, not only am I a receiver. I also started on kick return and every special teams but kickoff. And being great after the catch. I’m a physical guy” – Deebo Samuel on his value to an NFL team.

“He’s a great guy, just talking to him the first day I got there without even hitting the field, yet, we had some pretty good conversations after that” – Samuel on his interaction with Kyle Shanahan during the week of the Senior Bowl.

“Turn the game tape on and you see one of the elite competitors in college football this year that I saw. This guy, you’re going to have to fight him, and he’s going to fight for yards. I think that type of play is contagious. He’s got real juice. He can catch the ball and break away” – 49ers GM John Lynch.

“He’s got the speed as much as some of the top receivers in the draft. He’s got the stuff that are as good as anyone’s, but what separates Deebo – and Jalen (Hurd) – we thought they were the two most physical players out of all the receivers in the draft. You don’t want to draft a receiver just because he’s physical, but when you can have the speed and 40 that Deebo has with his hands and route-running, along with the physicality” – 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan.

Deebo, to me, is a big receiver. Look at his body. Look how he runs the ball. It hurts for people to tackle him. It doesn’t hurt him as bad. And when you have the hands like that and the speed. We’re not playing basketball. We’re not throwing alley-oops under the backboard and post people up and box them out. We want guys to separate to get the ball in their hands and run” – Shanahan.

How Kyle Shanahan's 49ers offense impressed Packers' Aaron Rodgers in 2018


How Kyle Shanahan's 49ers offense impressed Packers' Aaron Rodgers in 2018

The 49ers lost to the Green Bay Packers in Week 6 of the 2018 NFL season, but they did win an admirer. 

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers told NBC Sports' Chris Simms at the American Century Championship in Lake Tahoe last week that he was very impressed by Kyle Shanahan's playcalling.

"The stuff they did against us this year ... was unbelievable," Rodgers told Simms on a recent episode of "Unbuttoned" released this week. "You watch on the sidelines going, 'that's pretty cool.'"

San Francisco was without starting QB Jimmy Garoppolo after he tore his ACL in Week 3, but nearly outlasted the Packers in a 33-30 shootout in a cold Monday night matchup on Oct. 15. The 49ers led 30-23 with 13:08 remaining, but Rodgers did Aaron Rodgers Things and marched the Packers 58 yards and 81 yards, respectively, on two scoring drives sandwiched by a costly C.J. Beathard interception. It was one of the team's most prolific games all season, as the 49ers combined for their fifth-highest total yards (401) and their third-most points of the season. 

[RELATED: NFL analyst predicts major improvements for 49ers next season]

The Packers will travel to Levi's Stadium in Week 12 on Nov. 24, and the rematch could contain more fireworks on offense. Rodgers mentioned Shanahan, Simms' former teammate at the University of Texas-Austin and his longtime friend, after discussing his excitement playing in new coach Matt LaFleur's offensive scheme. LaFleur, who is replacing Mike McCarthy, coached with Shanahan in Washington and with the Atlanta Falcons, and LaFleur's brother Mike is the 49ers' wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator. 

If Garoppolo's healthy and LaFleur and Rodgers click on the opposing sideline, another high-scoring classic could be in the cards. 

Kyle Shanahan is 'doppelganger' of Bill Belichick, Colin Cowherd says

Kyle Shanahan is 'doppelganger' of Bill Belichick, Colin Cowherd says

There are a litany of great head coaches in the NFL today, but few are both as universally beloved by colleagues and as overlooked by fans and media members as 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. The former Falcons offensive coordinator has fought an uphill battle since taking over prior to the 2017 season -- and has a 10-22 record to show for it. 

Colin Cowherd was recently discussing the NFL.com head coach rankings that were released yesterday, and he strongly disagreed with one particular selection.

"Shanahan, has a doppelganger in this league, it's called Belichick," Cowherd said. Bill Belichick is easily the most well-renowned head coach in the NFL and just came off of his sixth Super Bowl victory in February.

"Kyle Shanahan has an incredible career as a coordinator," the host of The Herd on FS1 explained. "Everywhere he's gone, He made Matt Schaub a pro bowler, he made Matt Ryan an MVP. Then he leaves, the teams aren't the same and the quarterbacks aren't the same. "

Cowherd pointed out some data on just how much better the 49ers have been with Jimmy Garoppolo on the field than when he's been off, but closed out his analysis with a strong take.

[RELATED: DeForest Buckner has big expectations for himself, 49ers in 2019 season]

"In two years, he will be a top-six coach."

With Shanahan and general manager John Lynch each having four years remaining on their contracts, 49ers fans can rest easy knowing they've got a very highly regarded head coach pacing the sidelines each week. The regular season opens Sept. 8 when San Francisco travels to Tampa Bay to face the Buccaneers.