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Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Why PFN named Deebo Samuel an ‘overrated’ 49ers player

Jul 8, 2024 at 8:45 AM

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Deebo Samuel remains one of the most dynamic players in the NFL, capable of hauling in passes and making plays out of the backfield while evading defenders. The wide receiver enjoyed a career year in 2021, amassing 1,770 scrimmage yards and 14 total touchdowns, which earned him a massive contract extension from the San Francisco 49ers.

Samuel's 1,405 receiving yards in 2021 were a career-high, with the wideout averaging an impressive and league-leading 18.2 yards per catch. However, since then, he has failed to surpass 900 receiving yards in a single season and has missed six games over the past two seasons.

While Samuel is still viewed as one of the game's most unique playmakers, his inability to live up to expectations after signing his lucrative deal has earned him the "overrated" label from Pro Football Network contributor Anthony DiBona.

"San Francisco 49ers WR Deebo Samuel appeared to emerge as one of the position's best in 2021," DiBona explained. "But ever since receiving a massive payday from the Niners, Samuel's production has fallen off a cliff."

Some have questioned Samuel's long-term durability, given his physical style of play. Brandon Aiyuk has led the 49ers in receiving yards over the past two seasons, establishing himself as the clear WR1 on the roster. This has led to speculation about Samuel's future, as the team may not be financially capable of paying two receivers top-tier money after the upcoming season.

"In 2021, Samuel hauled in 77 receptions for a whopping 1,405 receiving yards and six touchdowns," DiBona continued. "In each of the last two seasons combined, Samuel has totaled just 1,524 receiving yards. It's safe to say that Samuel has become overrated at this point."

It's worth noting that San Francisco lost each of the two games that Samuel missed last season, along with the preceding game in which he exited early due to a shoulder injury.

Overrated or not, Samuel provides quarterback Brock Purdy and the 49ers offense with another dynamic weapon, enhancing the team's chances of achieving its Super Bowl aspirations during the upcoming season.
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