On a recent episode of The Chris Collinsworth Podcast with co-host Richard Sherman, Niners‘ offensive tackle Trent Williams joined Sherman and Collinsworth where players with “freakish” physical skills came up in conversation.
“I don’t know about (being) on the level of freakish athleticism, but Deebo is one of my favorite players, too,” Williams said. “Because I feel he possesses something I don’t really see in a lot of people.”
Willams added that Samuel’s best skill is “contact balance.”
“I told him my first week there,” Williams said. “I’m like, ‘Bro, I ain’t never seen anything like that.’
“He’s got contact balance that’s out of this world.”
During his rookie year in 2019, Samuel caught 57 passes for 802 yards and three touchdowns. He also added 14 rushing attempts for 159 yards and three touchdowns that season. Postseason, Samuel rushed for 102 yards on six attempts, including a receiver Super Bowl record of 53 yards.
This past season wasn’t as exciting as spent most of the year sidelined with a foot fracture. In the seven games he did appear in, Samuel caught 33 passes for 391 yards and gained 26 yards on eight attempts.
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Richard Sherman Compares Deebo to Marshawn Lynch
Without questioning, Sherman understood what Williams was saying.
“It’s something you definitely never see in receivers,” Sherman said. “You see it sometimes in running backs. But he’s just a hunter for contact, and he always thinks he’s getting through it.
Williams went on to compare Deebo to running backs Alvin Kamara and Emmitt Smith who are known for taking hits and staying on their feet.
As for Sherman, another running back came to his mind.
“That’s how Marshawn was,” Sherman said. “Marshawn is like running into a moving car.”
Said Williams, “Deebo is almost like a Marshawn in a receiver’s body.”
That’s a pretty heft comparison to live up to since Lynch is one of the best in the league to ever carry the ball with force and most wideouts tend to avoid contact and use their speed to get around the opposing defense.
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49ers Have Off-Season Needs at Wideout to Address
The Niners currently have their starting wide receivers in Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel in the lineup.
But what’s after that on the depth chart? Richie James is still under contract, wahoo and Jalen Hurd, well he’s been injured the past two years so anything he can contribute on the field is simply a bonus. Veteran wideout Travis Benjamin is also expected to return after opting out last season due to COVID-19, but he might not fit into the plan anymore.
The Niners will have to look to the draft or free agency for a true slot receiver, something they have lacked over recent years. Trent Taylor spent most of last season as a healthy scratch and contributed just 10 catches for 86 yards last season.
There will be plenty of vets to look at once the open market hits on March 17th, so it might be smart to grab one then, but they can also afford to use one of their nine draft picks on a rookie slot receiver.