Deebo Samuel is in a class of his own.
Most players, entering the league, share the established players they emulate or aspire to be. Not Samuel, who has repeatedly shared that he doesn’t watch movies on other receivers. On Friday, the 49ers All-Pro wide receiver didn’t mince words when explaining his exact reasoning.
“There’s not another receiver in the league who plays like me and does the things I do,” Samuel said. “I don’t see the need to watch someone who doesn’t do the things I do.”
During the 2021 NFL regular season, the multi-faceted receiver racked up 77 receptions for 1,405 yards and six touchdowns. Samuel also carried the ball out of the backfield 59 times for 365 yards and eight more rushing touchdowns. In the Divisional Round victory over the Green Bay Packers, Samuel added a returning kick to his resume.
Samuel is also known for his murderous style of play, which makes the 49ers offense so difficult to play against. The combination of tight end George Kittle, running back Elijah Mitchell and Samuel sometimes seems unstoppable. If a single opposing defender tries to take them down, they do.
Offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel spoke Thursday about how planning the game for Samuel was a new endeavor for the coaching staff, albeit a very exciting one and one that worked out well for the team.
“This is uncharted territory for all of us, the coaching staff and the player,” McDaniel said. “It’s something you kind of feel. No, I mean to be honest, Deebo just wants to play ball. And he sees himself as a team leader and he’s a competitive guy who really wants win and he thinks he can help the team win every time he touches him.”
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If there’s one thing to expect from the 49ers on Sunday when they face the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium in the NFC Championship Game, it’s that Samuel will be used in more than one facet of the game.