#32 Deebo Samuel, Wide Receiver, South Carolina
Wrapping up the Raider Ramble Top 32 is wide receiver Deebo Samuel. At 5’11,” Samuel lacks ideal height, but he makes up for it with his route running and speed. He ran a 4.48-second 40-yard dash at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine and his film shows that he is more than just a speed threat. Samuel projects as a slot receiver and while he is not quite as shifty, he reminds me of Giants wide receiver Golden Tate.
Samuel’s best routes are corners and posts. These routes combine two of his best attributes: Speed and route running. Part of what makes him such a good route runner is he doesn’t run every route the same way. He knows what routes require sharp cuts and when he needs to run more smoothly. A lot of receivers excel at one and struggle at the other, but Samuel can run both. He excels in the screen game as well and can make plays with the ball in his hands and while Samuel showed the ability to make catches in traffic, he did have a few concentration drops. Against Texas A&M, a ball hit him in the facemask and he will need to ensure this doesn’t become a habitual problem. He also struggles against physical coverage, but can mitigate this issue if he learns how to prevent defensive backs from getting their hands on him. Samuel is a great value pick for any team that needs a slot receiver and picks late in the first or early second rounds.
Fit for the Raiders
Samuel might be exactly what the Raiders receiving corps need. Oakland could use a slot receiver and his route running could catch the eye of Raiders head coach Jon Gruden. Selecting Samuel with the 27th pick wouldn’t be too much of a reach, but addressing other needs such as pass rusher, guard and tight end should be a bigger priority than slot receiver. If he’s still on the board with pick 35, it’s hard to imagine there will be much better options for Oakland than him.
The Packers let Randall Cobb go and that leaves them with a void at slot receiver. If Green Bay opts for a defensive player with pick 12, look for offensive minded head coach Matt LaFleur to spend pick 30 on a weapon for quarterback Aaron Rodgers. As mentioned above, the Raiders could also use a slot receiver and if still available, Samuel will be their best option. If the three first round picks are all defensive players, you can expect Gruden to demand an offensive weapon. Unlike Oakland and the Packers, the Patriots don’t necessarily need a slot receiver. However, we all know how head coach Bill Belichick loves slot receivers and he is known to ignore needs in favor of the best player available. At pick 32, Samuel might be the best player available and Belichick might not be able to resist.