HOF Receiver Says 49ers’ Star Nearing Elite Level

Deebo Samuel

Getty Deebo Samuel's play has him leading the league in receiving yards after four weeks.

One of the brightest spots for the San Francisco 49ers during the first four weeks of the 2021 season has been the play of third-year wide receiver Deebo Samuel.

Samuel’s production has been eye-popping. He leads the league in receiving yards with 490, ahead of Kansas City Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill with 453. He’s caught 28 balls and scored three touchdowns in the first four weeks, but it’s his averages that are perhaps most impressive. He’s gaining 17.5 yards per catch and 122.5 yards per game.

His 156-yard, two-score performance was one of the few positive takeaways from the 49ers 28-21 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, October 3.

It’s not just the Bay Area that’s noticing his play, either.

Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame WR Michael Irvin told the radio program 95.7 The Game that Samuel deserves to be considered among the league’s best.

“He is absolutely moving toward that mark,” Irvin said. “He is saying, ‘Start including me in that conversation,’ with the way he is playing.”

While it’s still early, Samuel’s 122.5 yards per game would be tops in franchise history, surpassing the 115.5-yard average set by fellow Hall of Famer Jerry Rice in 1995, NBC Sports Bay Area  reported.

ALL the latest 49ers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on 49ers newsletter here!

Join Heavy on 49ers!

Irvin: Samuel Has ‘Real Courage’

Deebo Samuel

GettyIt’s not just his skillset, but overall toughness that wows Michael Irvin about Deebo Samuel.

Irvin, who caught 750 passes for 11,904 yards and 65 touchdowns in his three-time Super Bowl winning career, said it was more than just talent that made Samuel one of the league’s best. It was the young receiver’s toughness and fearless attitude that made him an elite-level player.

One slant pass over the middle that Samuel caught in traffic with only his hands really popped out for Irvin when he watched the Seahawks game. The ability for him to concentrate and catch the ball away from his body in the face of an oncoming collision was something not a lot of receivers can pull off, Irvin said, himself included.

Irvin said he always caught such passes in his body as a way to lessen his exposure to the hit. It shortened the target for his quarterback, but also protected him physically. Samuel, however, didn’t worry about protecting himself, Irvin noticed.

“That takes real courage,” Irvin said of the 6-foot, 215-pound second-round pick out of South Carolina. “He is an incredible young player.”


WR Brandon Aiyuk Still Not Producing at High Level

Brandon Aiyuk

GettyBrandon Aiyuk, last year’s top 49ers’ receiver, has six receptions for 58 yards so far this season.

Samuel’s breakout play is helping fill the dip in production from fellow WR Brandon Aiyuk. Aikyuk’s playing time has been limited after he suffered a hamstring injury in the preseason. He was seen as being in coach Kyle Shanahan’s doghouse after the first two weeks of the season, but the coach has maintained that Aiyuk is just returning to the offense slowly in light of his injury.

Aiyuk has six receptions for 58 yards and one touchdown this season.

On Monday, October 4, Shanahan told reporters that Aiyuk has earned more reps in practice over the last two weeks, but his development is something that still needs to be worked on.

“He’s trying to work on being more consistent and it’s still a work in progress,” Shanahan said. “We’re going to keep pushing him hard at that. B.A.’s working at it and I expect him to keep trying to get better here.”

The 2-2 49ers travel to the 4-0 Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, October 10 and are 4-point underdogs for their Week 5 showdown, according to DraftKings Nation.


READ NEXT: 49ers Sign Ex-Panthers Kicker in Wake of Robbie Gould Injury: Report

Read More