Deebo Samuel – The Undersized Menace
Tyshun “Deebo” Samuel may be undersized, but he does not let it show. Samuel was a dominant wide receiver at South Carolina. He showed his tenacity on every play and bullied bigger and stronger defenders. But while Samuel is one of the draft’s best talents, his fate may be decided by factors out his control. Will the Ravens take a leap of faith and draft Deebo Samuel?
Here are his combine stats and measurables:
- Height – 5’1″
- Weight – 214 lbs
- Arm Length – 31 3/8″
- Hand Size – 10″
- 40 Yard Dash – 4.48 s
- Bench Press Reps (225) – 15
- Vertical Jump – 39.0″
- Broad Jump – 122.0″
After taking a look at Samuel’s tape it was evident that he possessed an ability to create big plays at almost any time. Samuel is quick. His feet move at an incredible pace. He plays faster than his 4.48 40-yard dash speed demonstrated at the NFL Combine. This is is already problematic for defenses, but when he pairs speed with upper body strength, Samuel becomes a deadly weapon for an offense. Samuel is able to control his weight well and is very strong in his upper body. This enables him to push through would-be tacklers, and take off into the secondary.
Samuel also completes his most basic, yet important function, as a wide receiver with ease. He catches almost every pass that comes to him. Even when he is matched up against a taller defensive back, Samuel will go vertical to snag the ball. This is evidence of his gritty nature. Samuel fights on every play, whether he is trying to grab the ball in front of a Goliath of an opponent, or he is pushing through defenders for extra yards. His tenacity is complimented well by his ability. Samuel is super-athletic and is versatile. He can play a variety of positions on offense. He often played as a running back for South Carolina, and received a number of chances to run with the ball from the backfield.
Samuel also consistently creates separation between defensive backs and himself. The tape did not show most of his routes, but separation is indicative of a good route runner. He did this consistently, against teams of all calibers. He even played well against the national champion Clemson Tigers in the final game of the year.
Despite all of Deebo Samuel’s strengths, he has two major weaknesses that firmly place him as a second-round wide receiver. First, Deebo Samuel has an extensive injury history. Samuel missed the majority of his freshman and junior years at South Carolina with hamstring injuries. NFL receivers need to be durable, and Samuel’s status could frequently be in question. The second major weakness is his size. As previously mentioned, Samuel is undersized at 5’11”. He makes up for his lack of size with tenacity but may be unable to overcome it at the professional level.
Deebo Samuel is also an unproven blocker. For a team like the Ravens, that will focus on ground production, wide receivers will be required to block. Throughout the film, Samuel often failed to secure blocks, and occasionally neglected to even make an effort. The reason for this may be that he has little strength in his arms. With just 15 bench press reps, Samuel will be unable to win matchups against stronger opponents in the NFL.
Deebo Samuel possesses a combination of abilities that most wide receivers can only dream of. While he has all the ability, two factors beyond his control will ultimately decide his draft fate. The team that drafts him must be comfortable risking a pick on a talented, yet fragile player.
Grade – 7.4/10.0 – Early second round pick.
NFL Comparison – JuJu Smith-Schuster
Should the Ravens Draft Deebo Samuel?
Yes, the Baltimore Ravens should draft Deebo Samuel, but only if one scenario in the first round happens. The Ravens cannot draft a wide receiver in the first round and still draft Samuel. Samuel will likely be picked in the second round, which means Baltimore will have to trade into it to get him. If the Ravens trade back in the first round, they can acquire capital to trade into the 2nd round with relative ease. At that point, the Ravens should draft Samuel.