As requested, Deebo Samuel is up next in my list of WR prospect pieces for Music City Miracles. Born on January 15th, 1996, Samuel is already 23 years old, is 5’11 and 214 lb, and played WR for South Carolina in college. In 2018 he caught 62 passes for 882 yards and 11 touchdowns, while also receiving both First Team All-American and First Team All-SEC.
A lot of people really like Samuel and this has been a guy people have requested me to watch for a while. As a prospect he definitely does some good things but I’m not quite as high on him as most people seem to be, and the rest of the article will of course be dedicated to why I feel that way.
On a few occasions last season Samuel was used as a jet motion option due to his speed, and he works really well in this area. For a creative team needing an underneath option to further diversify their offense, you couldn’t go wrong using Deebo here.
You may have guessed that with Samuel’s speed comes tons of yards after the catch, and you’d be correct saying this. He’s not quite as dangerous as Marquise Brown with the ball in his hands, but he’s in the ballpark. I love his stiff arm on the last tackler in this clip as he breaks into the open field, that’s a nice touch.
As a route runner, Samuel is by no means the best in this class, but to his credit he does have his moments. This is a really nice touchdown on his part against quick jam press coverage. He gets jammed right away but reacts perfectly to it, and on a third and eight in addition, so that’s what the NFL calls “clutch.”
So I’ve mentioned I’m not as high on Samuel as most people seem to be, and while I don’t think he’s particularly awful at anything, I don’t think he’s consistent enough in any area to warrant an early pick in my opinion. And for a guy that’s already 23 I have to wonder how much more he can improve.
Another issue I have with Samuel is his catch radius doesn’t seem to be that impressive in comparison to his peers.
With some exceptions, Samuel did not look particularly impressive at the catch point from my viewing. His approach clearly has good intentions but more often than not the ball’s getting jarred from his hands and he’s not particularly a freak at the catch point.
Perhaps I’m jaded, but I’d be higher on Deebo Samuel if his game was more consistent, because he looks extremely raw. That would work more for me if he wasn’t already 23, and I don’t see the Titans being as creative with him as a team like the Patriots or the 49ers.
Maybe I’ll be wrong, and I really do enjoy his flashes, but I’m not seeing as consistent success in college as from Marquise Brown or J.J. Arcege-Whiteside. You can definitely invest in Samuel for his speed, and he has a place as a vertical, intermediate and especially underneath threat, but I’m not a fan of spending an early pick on him.
With that said, I would not mind at all if the Titans spend a late Day 2 or Day 3 pick on Samuel. There’s enough promise to his game that he’d help a WR needy team later in the draft, and he’s definitely flashy enough to excite the NFL fanbase.
So the question is, is Samuel worth drafting? I’d ultimately say yes, but depending on the spot. I think he’s too raw to be drafted early, but is definitely worth picking up in the later rounds.