Coming off a 10-7 season and their second trip to the NFC Championship Game in the last three years, the San Francisco 49ers have a roster that is considered one of the best in the National Football League.
Their most prized player on the offensive side of the ball is Deebo Samuel, who broke out in a big way in his third season in the league.
He was named to both the Pro Bowl and the All-Pro First-Team, and he possesses good downfield speed that is reminiscent of Tyreek Hill, the wideout who was recently traded to the Miami Dolphins.
“Deebo Samuel is just a gadget player, not an actual WR”
Deebo the actual WR: pic.twitter.com/8AmAvJauQO
— ᵏʸˡᵉ (@49ersKyle) March 27, 2022
At just 26 years of age, the potential is there for Samuel to build on his monster 2021 campaign and continue to be one of the NFL’s very best receivers.
Samuel Was A San Francisco Treat In 2021
The former University of South Carolina star had a fairly pedestrian first two seasons in the pros.
He wasn’t too bad as a rookie, putting up 802 yards and three touchdowns while helping the 49ers reach the Super Bowl and come within minutes of a world championship.
He played in only seven contests in 2020, but this past season was his coming-out party.
Samuel amassed 1,405 yards and six receiving touchdowns, and he led the NFL with 18.2 yards per reception, proof of his top-shelf speed while running routes.
He also finished second in yards after receptions, which is a ranking truly befitting of an elite wideout.
But Samuel’s abilities as a pass-catcher are only one dimension of his unique package of talent.
Midway through the 2021 season, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan decided to line Samuel up in the backfield every now and then to take advantage of his strong build.
At 6-foot tall and 215 pounds, he is stronger than your average wideout, and his build is somewhere in between the sleek ectomorph of the archetypal wideout and the rounder, tougher physique of a running back.
Samuel ran for 365 yards and eight touchdowns in 2021, and most of that production only came after Week 9.
— Chris 🥶 (@CRiley1111) January 31, 2022
His combination of outstanding speed and the ability to run through defensive linemen makes him a truly one-of-a-kind player.
Hill, who is 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds, doesn’t have anywhere close to Samuel’s ability to produce while lining up in the backfield.
If or when the Niners ever figure out their quarterback situation – and eventually they will – Samuel should be a championship-caliber player. All he needs is an elite QB like Patrick Mahomes who can consistently find him downfield.
Could Trey Lance be that man?
Samuel Will Get Paid, And He Deserves To Be
After Hill got a four-year contract from the Dolphins worth $120 million and after Davante Adams was given a five-year, $141 million deal, speculation started on how much Samuel will command.
He will become a free agent next offseason, and unless the Niners lock him soon, there will be plenty of teams clamoring for his services.
If Lance becomes the elite QB people in San Francisco think he can be, the 49ers could contend for the Super Bowl for many years to come.
In addition, veteran tight end George Kittle is 28 and should have several more productive years in him.