San Francisco 49ers rookie linebacker Dre Greenlaw said he identified with former Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Willis when questioned by reporters on Thursday.

There has been some debate on whom second-round draft pick Deebo Samuel, a wide receiver out of South Carolina, compares to. Many want to compare him to the man he could be replacing, Pierre Garçon. That comparison, however, always felt rather forced.

Who did Samuel say he patterns his game after? Like Greenlaw, he named a former 49ers player who saw success at his position — Anquan Boldin. He also named NFL receiver Golden Tate. Both are seen as very physical receivers, which is why the 49ers rookie identifies with them.

"They're great after the catch," Samuel said. "They know how to get separation and beat man coverage."

Samuel is seen as one of the best receivers in this draft class at gaining yards after the catch.

"It's just the mentality that I get when I get the ball in my hands," he said. "Like I was brought up, I was taught that way. My father always said, 'Get the ball in the box every time you touch the ball.' Every time I get it, I try to put it in the end zone."

Samuel sees himself as versatile enough to play wherever the 49ers coaches put him. He joked that he played every position except quarterback while at South Carolina. He even contributed on special teams, which he is not against doing at the NFL level.

"I kind of expect to do anything that they ask me to do," Samuel said. "Just throw me out there, anywhere, and I'll make the best out of every opportunity."

Like all of the rookies taking part in this weekend's three-day minicamp, Samuel is grateful for the opportunity to play in the NFL.

"It's just a blessing to be here, and just walk in here and be part of the team," he said.



Video courtesy of Grant Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

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