Deebo Samuel Is Running Through Everyone
By Kyle Koster
Deebo Samuel was the brightest supernova on a star-studded field on Monday night as his San Francisco 49ers clawed back into playoff contention with a stunning three-touchdown victory over the Los Angeles Rams. The electric wide receiver caught five passes for 97 yards and a score while gaining 36 yards and another touchdown on the ground. He's a matchup nightmare in space playing astronaut in a Kyle Shanahan system predicated on room to roam. Opposing tacklers have been powerless to bring him down with first contact and more often than not been privy to a bystander's view as Samuel adds to his incredible YAC figure.
More than half of his total has come after absorbing a blow. ESPN's Nick Wagoner contextualized just how impressive this stretch has been.
No one in the league has gained more distance per touch than Samuel's 16 yards. A versatile weapon, he's been tasked with rushing the ball 11 times and found the end zone twice. His ability to stretch both vertically and horizontally opens up opportunities for George Kittle, meaning his tentacles have influence in largely unnoticed ways. You watch him over 60 minutes and conclude there's precious little he cannot do.
This is a breakout third year for the South Carolina product, who posted 57 grabs and 802 yards his rookie year and had a sophomore campaign derailed by injury. At his current pace, he could flirt with a 100-catch, 2,000-yard year and a well-earned Pro Bowl, if not All-Pro honor.
His is not a name that quickly comes to mind when discussing the premier wideouts. But perhaps it should be. If not right now, then not so distantly into the future.