Threat to score and rip off long gains on any touch
Very good route-runner
Consistently creates separation
Twitchy in and out of breaks
Tracks the ball well
Stretches a defense vertically
Excellent with the ball in his hands
Very good vision
Elusive runner; dangerous moves in the open field
Dangerous kick returner
Experienced and successful against good college programs
Makes big plays in the clutch
Ready to contribute immediately
Could have durability issues in the NFL
Running back build
Summary: There was a lot of buzz about Samuel being a play-maker for South Carolina, and he got his college career going with a solid sophomore season. As a sophomore in 2016, Samuel took 59 receptions for 783 yards and a touchdown. Over his career, he averaged 34.2 yards per kick return, plus notched three touchdowns.
At the start of the 2017 season, Samuel looked like one of the most dynamic, electrifying, and dangerous play-makers in college football. The junior began the year in great fashion against N.C. State. It started right away when he took the opening kickoff back for a touchdown. Samuel added another kick return for a touchdown in the second game. Over the first three games of the season, Samuel had 15 receptions for 250 yards and three touchdowns as a wide receiver. Samuel was on his way to a tremendous junior season until he broke a bone in his left leg, ending his 2017 campaign. He and South Carolina held out hope for a late-season return, but at the end of the year, the Gamecocks shut Samuel down to protect him.
Samuel was healthy for 2018 and got back to being a point-producer for South Carolina. He totaled 62 receptions for 882 yards and 11 touchdowns on the year. After the season, Samuel continued to impress, having an excellent Senior Bowl at which he did very well in all three practices. He showed the quickness and route-running to consistently generate separation. He also displayed the ability to catch with his hands and avoided some of the drops from body catches that other receivers had. Samuel then had a good showing at the combine, running the 40-yard dash in 4.48 seconds.
As a receiver, Samuel is impressive. His speed and play-making skills with the ball in his hands eclipse that he is a really talented wideout. He runs good routes and consistently uses his speed to achieve separation. Samuel is very dangerous on quick slants and running go routes down the sideline. Samuel is very adept at tracking the ball in the air and plays it well. He high points the ball and times his hands nicely to make catches over defensive backs. Samuel has soft hands and catches the ball with his hands naturally. He is also an aggressive receiver who isn't afraid of contact.
What really sets Samuel apart is how dangerous he is with the ball in his hands. He has excellent vision to weave around defenders and can use his speed to rip off yards in chunks. He has quick feet along with the cutting ability to stop-start or stutter step, and a strong frame to run through arm tackles. When the ball hits Samuel on the run, he is a big problem for defenders because he is tough to grab in the open field with his shifty moves. Samuel has enough speed to run away from defenders and take a catch the distance. Samuel is superb on screens and jet sweeps to race through the defense.
Samuel looks very versatile for the NFL. He could line up as an outside receiver and play the X - split end - to challenge teams vertically. Samuel also is dangerous out of the slot and could be a tough receiver to defend on underneath routes. With his size and speed, Samuel also could take some carries out of the backfield. On top of his offensive skills, Samuel is a dynamic returner who should contribute on special teams.
In the 2019 NFL Draft, Samuel has a slim chance of being picked in the back half of the first round and probably will not get out of the second round if he makes it to Friday night.
Player Comparison: Golden Tate. Samuel reminds me of a thicker version of Tate. Both are dangerous run-after-the-catch receivers who have good hands, route-running and quickness. Tate was a second-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, and Samuel could go in the second round this year.
NFL Matches: Buffalo, Miami, New England, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Cleveland, Tennessee, Denver, Green Bay, San Francisco, Arizona, Dallas, New Orleans, Oakland
There could be a lot of teams in the market for an upgrade at wide receiver, so Samuel should have plenty of teams hoping to land him in the 2019 NFL Draft. Perhaps the highest that Samuel could hope to go would be to the Ravens in the first round. Baltimore could use more receiving talent for Lamar Jackson, and Samuel would bring a big-play, speed element the Ravens are lacking.
In the AFC East, Samuel could land with three of those teams. The Patriots could use some youth at wideout, and Samuel would be a good replacement for Brandin Cooks. Miami needs more receiving weapons, while Buffalo needs one more receiver to go with John Brown and Cole Beasley. With Allen's right-arm cannon, Samuel could be a great fit as a speed receiver to challenge defenses downfield.
The Eagles could use more explosive weapons for Carson Wentz. Samuel would give Philadelphia a long-term speed receiver for Wentz since the loss of Golden Tate.
Tennessee needs to find more receiving weapons for Marcus Mariota. Samuel would make sense as a speed receiver to go across from Corey Davis.
Denver traded away Demaryius Thomas, and Samuel would give the team a speed receiver to go across from Courtland Sutton.
The Packers could consider Samuel late in the first round or in the second round. Green Bay could view Samuel as a replacement for Randall Cobb.
Christian Kirk was a nice addition by the Cardinals, but they could use more receiving weapons as Larry Fitzgerald won't play forever. San Francisco could use more receiving talent, and Samuel could give the 49ers a big-play threat to go with Dante Pettis.
The Cowboys traded for Amari Cooper, but he's inconsistent and they need more than just him to help Dak Prescott. Samuel could be a speed receiver to help take advantage of safeties coming up to defend Ezekiel Elliott. Samuel would be an excellent value for Dallas in the second round.
New Orleans head coach Sean Payton was frustrated with his wide receivers aside from his No. 1, Michael Thomas last season. The Saints even went so far as to sign Dez Bryant and Brandon Marshall midseason. Samuel could be a good fit for a role like Devery Henderson had in the New Orleans offense.