Asante Samuel Jr. Draft Profile
There isn’t a DB that is smarter than Asante Samuel Jr. in this year’s draft. After an illustrious career at Florida State, Samuel Jr. is following his father’s footsteps into the NFL. Given the NFL bloodline, Samuel has been watching football all of his life. He has football running through his veins. Similar to Antoine Winfield Jr. of last year’s draft, Samuel Jr. is a high football IQ type of player. His intelligence really comes to play when in zone coverage and he can read the offense. Samuel Jr thrives in cover three and cover four. Ideally, Samuel Jr. lands in a spot where he can be an outside corner in a zone-based defensive scheme.
While Samuel Jr. isn’t the biggest or the fastest player, he is very technique driven. When it comes to planting on his back foot and driving to the football, there are times Samuel Jr. looks like he’d be running a 4.2 40 yard dash; the explosion is there. Samuel Jr. does a phenomenal job at playing the football! He knows how to put his hands in a position to break up a pass without drawing a penalty. As I mentioned earlier, Samuel Jr. is smart; he doesn’t fall for double moves and does a great job at breaking on the ball. There is also a hidden aggression that comes out of Samuel Jr. from time to time. Similar to Jaycee Horn, Samuel Jr. has that dog in him. While Samuel Jr. won’t be one of those guys who follows a receiver every where he goes, he offers versatility as a pass rusher; Samuel Jr. does a great job on corner blitzes off the edge. In the second round a team will snag Samuel Jr. and he’ll be a starter from day one.
At Samuel Jr.’s pro day, he ran a 40 yard dash of both 4.45 and 4.52, given the environment that time is probably closer to that mid 4.5 range. When corner’s lack that long speed it could result in them getting beat; however, Samuel Jr. is a very smart and discipline football player so it shouldn’t affect him too much. When playing in the slot, that discipline evaporated. There would be times where Samuel Jr. would get completely turned around which is a sign that he should probably stick to playing on the outside. After a receiver has already engaged in a block, Samuel Jr. had issues at breaking away from the block. Samuel Jr. is a very coachable player and I expect him to be a premiere outside corner in this league, despite his lack of speed.
When it comes to fit, Samuel Jr. would be perfect in that Robert Saleh cover three scheme. The Jets, 49ers, and Seahawks are all perfect destinations for Samuel Jr. and I expect him to go early on day two. In 2020, Saleh ran a lot more cover four than usual and I expect Demeco Ryans (49ers defensive coordinator) to do so as well. When it comes to a comparison, Samuel Jr. reminds me of a corner who is currently in that system, Jason Verrett. At pick 43, the 49ers are in prime position to draft Samuel Jr. and pair him up with Verrett. Samuel Jr. is another player with high potential in this draft.
Eyes + Instincts 9/10
Ball Skills 7/8
Size + Speed 4.75/7
Man Coverage 3.5/5
Zone Coverage 4.75/5
Final Rating: 82
Pro Comparison: Jason Verrett
Team Fits: 49ers, Jets, Seahawks
Draft Ranking: Second Round Pick
Draft Projection: Second Round Pick