Jalen Ramsey has high praise for his NFC West rival Deebo Samuel.
The Los Angeles Rams cornerback appeared on The Pivot Podcast on Tuesday in his first interview since winning Super Bowl LVI, where he was asked to name his top five NFL wide receivers from the 2021 season.
“It’s tough because I ain’t guarding everybody, obviously,” Ramsey said.
It definitely wasn’t a simple task for Ramsey, who is called upon to cover some of the league’s best route runners week in and week out, but the San Francisco 49ers “wide back” was at the top of his list. He believes three receivers in the NFL -- Las Vegas Raiders’ Davante Adams, Miami Dolphins’ Tyreek Hill and Samuel -- are all tied for the No. 1 spot, in his opinion.
“They might be interchangeable, though. I might have three No. 1s,” Ramsey laughed. “Them three for sure, because they changed the game and, honestly, the offenses are structured around them.”
Following Adams, Hill and Samuel on Ramsey’s list were 2021 Rams teammates Odell Beckham Jr., Cooper Kupp and Stefon Diggs of the Buffalo Bills.
If anyone should have a say in determining the league’s top receivers, it’s Ramsey. He’s a five-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro selection and is widely regarded as one of the best cornerbacks in the league.
Since being traded from the Jacksonville Jaguars to the Rams in 2019, he’s seen plenty of Samuel. From the 49ers receiver’s huge Monday Night Football game against the Rams in November to San Francisco’s NFC Championship loss at the hands of Ramsey and Co. earlier this year.
It’s Samuel’s diversity on offense that puts him with the likes of Adams and Hill, Ramsey said. While the Raiders and Dolphins stars can win almost any battle with the best corners in the league, Samuel can do anything, anywhere, at any time.
“And then Deebo, what he’s doing all over the field at running back was crazy,” Ramsey said. “He’s got to be right there with [Adams and Hill].”
Samuel converted to what he fondly refers to as the "wide back" role this past season, taking handoffs from the backfield at times and making incredible catches on either side of the hash marks just as often. While Adams and Hill are incredible receivers in their own right, Samuel definitely belongs in the conversation after his breakout 2021 campaign.
His record-setting season saw him named first-team All-Pro after receiving 21 votes, the third-most among all wide receivers. He was also a Pro Bowler last season after setting an NFL record for most rushing touchdowns by a wide receiver in a single season.
Both Adams and Hill signed contracts with new teams this offseason which each pay the receivers a hefty amount of money. All that's left is to see how Samuel will be rewarded for his role as one of the league's top receivers.