Wide receiver Deebo Samuel really came up big during his rookie campaign with the San Francisco 49ers. Many have started to view him as a legitimate No. 1 wideout for the team.

Samuel finished the regular season with 57 catches for 802 receiving yards with three touchdowns while adding 14 rushing attempts for 159 yards with three rushing scores. His three games of 100-or-more receiving yards are the most by a rookie in a single season in franchise history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Samuel's 57 receptions are the second-most by a rookie in franchise history. Only Earl Cooper had more with 83 in 1980. Samuel's 802 receiving yards also ranks as the second-most by a rookie in franchise history, behind only Jerry Rice, who had 927 in 1985.

"We saw a skill in Deebo not only being a traditional receiver but also just a guy who you want the ball in his hands," general manager John Lynch said Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. "... I thought [Kyle Shanahan and the coaching staff] did a tremendous job with Deebo.

"You've got to give Deebo a ton of credit. That's a tough transition, and he made it as well as a lot of the guys that I've seen. And we love everything about Deebo.

"The other side, he's got a spirit about him that I think is kind of infectious. He lifts the team with his youthful exuberance and enthusiasm, and he's a really good football player. So when you put those two things together, you've got an opportunity to be special."

Head coach Kyle Shanahan also had an opportunity to explain why Samuel was able to have early success in the NFL after the transition from the college game.

"Because of how good of a football player he is," Shanahan explained. "When I say that, I don't mean the receiver position. I mean, he's a very good receiver and will only get better, but Deebo is as fearless of a rookie as I've ever been around. Extremely tough, wants the ball in his hands, will fight through everything, can play injured.

"The game was never too big for him. The moment was never too big for him. And that's why he helped us huge this year.

"He can get a lot better developing his routes and stuff like that. And while he continues to do that, it's nice that you don't have to wait on all that. You can still use him because of how tough he is in every other aspect."