5 reasons why Deebo Samuel is perfect for the Jets

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Disgruntled 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel has requested a trade after a 2021 season in which he finished third in the league in scrimmage yards. The 26-year-old Samuel was arguably the most explosive wideout in the sport, catching 77 passes for 1,405 yards (18.2 yards per catch) and six touchdowns to go along with 365 rushing yards and eight touchdowns out of the backfield.

Samuel is entering the fourth year of his rookie contract and is in line for a payday sooner than later. Money isn’t the driving force behind Samuel’s desire to leave the 49ers, though, as he is unhappy with his usage in Kyle Shanahan’s offense, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

The Jets profile as primary players to land Samuel for an assortment of reasons. New York isn’t anticipating the star wideout will be traded for anything less than a “king’s ransom,” per CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson, but Joe Douglas already made a run at Tyreek Hill earlier this offseason. A pursuit of Samuel could very well be in store for Gang Green.

In the event that Samuel does indeed become available to the Jets, here are five reasons why he is a perfect fit for the Jets.

Scheme fit

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Samuel has spent his entire NFL career playing in a west coast offense that is nearly identical to what the Jets run under Mike LaFleur. New York likely wouldn’t have any designs on lining Samuel up in the backfield — which seems to be his main issue with the 49ers. That would allow the talented wideout to get the ball in space on the outside and make defenders miss in the open field.

Samuel’s shiftiness allowed him to average nearly 20 yards per reception playing in an offense predicated mostly on short and intermediate passes. He fits like a glove with the Jets given LaFleur’s system.

Familiarity with coaching staff

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Samuel’s familiarity with LaFleur goes beyond the offense he runs. The two spent time together in San Francisco before LaFleur followed Robert Saleh to the Jets as his offensive coordinator. Saleh was a hit with the 49ers and Samuel was one of the biggest personalities in the locker room. Saleh never directly coached Samuel as San Francisco’s defensive coordinator, but the two know exactly what the other is about.

Versatility

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Samuel is one of the few wide receivers in the NFL who can truly do it all. The South Carolina product’s hands are soft. His route running skills are crisp and he’s nearly impossible to bring down once he gets going in the open field. He also has the speed to beat a defense over the top when he has to. It would be impossible for the Jets not to find a place for Samuel in their offense. Players of his ilk don’t become available often.

Zach Wilson needs a true No. 1 receiver

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Corey Davis is a good receiver, but he’s not a true No. 1 option and it showed in his first season with the Jets. Elijah Moore has No. 1 potential, but he’s entering his second season and still has plenty of growing to do. Braxton Berrios is a quality depth piece, but nothing more. Denzel Mims is an unknown after a disastrous 2021 campaign.

Samuel gives Wilson exactly what he needs — a dominant top option split out wide. New York is invested in the second-year quarterback. Arming Wilson with a top-flight pass-catcher puts him in a position to take his game to the next level in 2022.

Production over potential

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New York’s push to land Hill was a clear indication that Douglas prefers to acquire a proven wide receiver over a rookie who has the potential to one day ascend to that level. USC’s Drake London, Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson and Alabama’s Jameson Williams are all strong prospects with high ceilings. Samuel is a proven commodity at this point, though, and even if he didn’t break out until just last season, the Jets will take him over a neophyte any day of the week.

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