With the NFL Draft now less than a month away, South Carolina’s Deebo Samuel still has some momentum in the draft process.
In fact, the most recent mock draft from TheRinger.com projects Samuel as a first-round pick at No. 30 overall to the Green Bay Packers.
“Samuel is a stocky, muscled-up pass catcher with strong hands, a tenacious play style, and excellent run-after-the-catch ability,” Ringer draft analyst Danny Kelly wrote. “The former Gamecock is a strong route runner; he uses sudden footwork at the line of scrimmage to get off press and frequently breaks defenders’ ankles on two-way-go routes out of the slot, using subtle head fakes and jab steps at the top of his stem to create separation. He is fearless running routes over the middle, ensuring the ball makes it in his hands, knowing he’s going to get hit. He’s physical with the ball in the air, works back to underthrown passes, and is capable of plucking the ball away from his body. Samuel is dangerous in the open field on sweeps and screens and is a dynamic return man. His intensity goes up in the red zone and he is unguardable in one-on-one situations in space.”
If Samuel is selected in the first round it would be the third time in six years the Gamecocks have produced a first-round draft pick. Tight end Hayden Hurst (No. 25 overall, 2018), defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (No. 1 overall, 2014) and Stephon Gilmore (No. 10, 2012) and Melvin Ingram (No. 18, 2010) have been recent first round picks. The last USC wide receiver picked in the first round was Troy Williamson in 2005.
Samuel had 62 catches for 882 yards and 11 touchdowns last year for the Gamecocks. He will most likely play the slot receiver position in the NFL, Kelly predicted, which Samuel said at the NFL Combine is fine with him.
“Really in the slot in college you’re really not getting bump-and-run so you get free release. You get a two-way go,” he said. “I feel like that’s just way easier than working yourself up trying to beat press man coverage every play.”
The first round of the draft will be held in Nashville on April 25.