My first ever Senior Bowl week was an enjoyable one. From scrimmages to 1-on-1’s to even special teams, it was great getting a feel of this years draft class up close and live. Seeing the zip out of Drew Lock’s hands, the burning speed of Terry McLaurin and the quick twitch style of Penny Hart were all eye-popping moments. But perhaps no prospect benefited more from the event than South Carolina WR Deebo Samuel.
Explosive, dynamic, and unguardable, the Gamecock pass-catcher showed off all his trademark abilities throughout the week, proving doubters wrong in the process. With extremely high expectations coming in, anything short of a spectacular performance may have been considered a disappointment. Thankfully, Deebo didn’t come up short of those aspirations in the slightest. Oh, and he measured in like a freaking tank in the weigh-ins. Seriously, how a 216 pounder moves as fluidly as the senior is something I may never understand.
Let’s take Samuel’s spectacle one play at a time and pinpoint what makes him such a game-breaking weapon.
Credit Rock Ya-Sin for matching up against Deebo for most of the week, because boy oh boy it was no easy task.
Here we see Deebo quickly eat up a cushion, square up the defender, sell the head fake deep and absolutely torch Ya-Sin by exploding left.
This type of play was a recurring theme all week. If you don’t get your hands on Deebo early— it’s over. His foot speed, jab steps, and overall dynamic nature are just too hard to handle.
Deebo Samuel’s foot speed is disgusting… pic.twitter.com/6dYpe7BSXt
— Jake (@SeedsofJake) January 22, 2019
Given his height limitations and yards after catch ability, it seems natural to doubt whether or not Deebo can play on the perimeter. If this week is any indication, he’s going to do just fine.
Here we see Samuel shift to his right at the snap and square up the defender just off the line of scrimmage. At this point the CB already has his hips wide open, and Deebo knows exactly how to attack. He ever so slightly jabs into the direction of the defender, leaving him off balance, and uses his speed to take it deep.
This understanding of leverage and separation was noticeable all week long.
Deebo Samuel putting on a release clinic at the senior bowl practices.. sheeesh.. shade under 6’ weighing 216… this is impressive.. great feet.. has a plan.. and he can run.. definitely understands leverage.. who’s his receiver coach? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/eR44ym6yok
— CrockTIME (@eric_crocker) January 24, 2019
One of my main issues with Deebo’s tape was actually with his horizontal-type separation. He rounded his breaks at times and really failed to engage his hips during particular moments of the game. He was explosive. He was dynamic. He was gritty. He was extremely fluid and smooth. But I didn’t always see the route-running capabilities you’d expect of a player with his traits. This week Samuel shut those concerns down and made me look like a fool.
Here we see Deebo on the “whip route.” He sells the slant inside, makes a beautiful and crisp break down, sinks his hips to perfection and changes direction on a dime all in one motion.
My goodness, Deebo Samuel, you didn’t have to do him like THAT 😧😧 pic.twitter.com/7xLhwTXyJm
— The Draft Network (@DraftNetworkLLC) January 24, 2019
Other Highlight Plays
Watch some other Deebo Samuel clips from the week for your enjoyment. Spoiler alert—his film was Oscar-worthy.
Deebo Samuel’s foot speed and jabs are something else. pic.twitter.com/h6gT9ELhlX
— Carter Donnick (@CDonScouting) January 25, 2019
Deebo untouched. pic.twitter.com/pcpscqG7sI
— Carter Donnick (@CDonScouting) January 24, 2019
Deebo vs Rock Ya Sin. Oh man. Deebo is a baller pic.twitter.com/TYaFnajHg4
— Billy Marshall (@BillyM_91) January 22, 2019
Coming into this as my top-ranked senior WR, Samuel did nothing in Mobile to remove himself from that top spot. A Golden Tate like presence, he looked like he was on a different field at times this week, and showed off all the elite traits that have me intrigued. Inside, outside, kick returns, punt returns, carries—Deebo can do it all. Ultimately, he may have just played himself into a chance at a Round 1 selection. And it’s unbelievably well deserved.