Deebo Samuel is on Pace to Hit 2 Long-Awaited Marks For the 49ers

Deebo Samuel

Getty The San Francisco 49ers' Deebo Samuel hauls in a third quarter pass against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, September 26, in Santa Clara.

If anyone is truly carrying the San Francisco 49ers offense on his back, it’s all 6-foot, 210-pounds of wide receiver Deebo Samuel.

Through the ongoing quarterback debate of who should start over who, to the injury pileup in the backfield all the way to fans hoping the general manager and head coaching position for the 49ers can be open for applications, the third-year wide receiver has stayed ten toes to the ground and is using his feet, legs and hands to put together a career season.

And, in the process, potentially end two long droughts involving the 49ers’ passing game.

What two marks am I referring to?

Crossing the Century Mark for Yardage

Via @OurSf49ers on Twitter, the 49ers haven’t had a 1,000-yard wide receiver in seven years.

In doing a fact check: The last 49er to cross the century mark was George Kittle during the 2019 season before the 49ers’ run to the NFC title (Kittle had 1,053). However, Kittle is a tight end. Samuel, then a rookie, was the next closest to the All-Pro at 802 yards — which led the WR unit.

So yes, there is a dry spell with the 49ers trying to find a 1,000-yard WR. Here’s a dive:

  • 2018: Kittle finished with 1,377 yards. Kendrick Bourne was the top receiver in yardage with just 487.
  • 2017: Marquise Godwin reached 962 yards to lead the team.
  • 2016: Jeremy Kerley led the 49ers with only 667 receiving yards in the first and only season of Chip Kelly.
  • 2015: Anquan Boldin racked up a team-high 789 yards, during the lone season of Jim Tomsula.
  • 2014: In the last season of the Jim Harbaugh era before he returned to the college ranks to take over at Michigan, Boldin tallied 1,062 yards.

Currently, Samuel sits at 648 receiving yards through six games — placing him fourth overall behind Davante Adams, Ja’Marr Chase and Cooper Kupp. But Samuel is seven yards ahead of Tyreek Hill.

Half of Samuel’s games has seen him go beyond the 100-yard mark. That includes the 100 he had in the rain soaked home loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, October 24.

Can also add: Samuel’s 319 yards after the catch (YAC) slots him at third overall in the league.

But Samuel has a great chance to end the 1,000-yard WR drought at his current pace. He’s averaging 108 yards each game…meaning that in a 17-game schedule he’ll hit 1,836 yards after Week 18. And that number would place him behind the legendary Jerry Rice and the franchise record 1,848 he set in 1995. But that’s not the only drought he could snap.

Hitting 100 Catches

The last time the 49ers produced a 100-catch wideout? Regardless if it was a TE or WR who hit that mark? You have to go back to before MySpace and Facebook were created.

That’s right…2002 represents the last time the ‘Niners had a WR hit three digits on the reception front. And the last representative? Terrell Owens.

Well, Samuel has 38 receptions — giving him an average of 6.3 per game. That average puts him on pace to top 107 catches, which would get him fourth on this list.

Will Samuel Reach Both Marks?

It’ll be quite the feat for Samuel to hit both 100 and 1,000, especially given the turmoil surrounding the team during their four-game losing streak.

But the man who goes by @19problemz on Twitter is giving defenses problems and growing into an elite NFL receiver.

Here’s how Samuel can hit the 100/1,000 duo: If the 49ers continue to get him to draw solo matchups and mismatches on the field. Similar to this play noted by NBC Sports’ Chris Simms that pinpoints the cat-quick WR drawing a linebacker on the coverage and winning that battle.

Against Seattle, Samuel drew six different defenders including three CB’s. And he dismantled Sidney Jones for 3 receptions for 112 yards.

In four of his six games, Samuel has been covered by 5-6 different defenders. The 49ers are moving him around and trying to feed him the ball (leads the team with 63 targets). Regardless of who is the QB and who calls the plays, feeding him every Sunday has to be first priority.

Prediction: He’ll end the drought and be named to his first Pro Bowl as a 100-catch, 1,000-yard receiver.

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