The waiting game is almost over for hundreds of NFL Draft prospects. Beginning on Thursday, the best college football players will wait patiently to see if they have made the cut to join the professional football ranks.
Among these prospects is South Carolina’s own Deebo Samuel. In his career at South Carolina, Samuel posted 2,076 receiving yards and 28 total touchdowns, but he has since hung up his Gamecock jersey to prepare for the professional level. The Daily Gamecock sports staff predicts where the Inman, South Carolina, native will be spending the 2019 NFL season.
Matt Edwards – Sports writer
New England Patriots: Round 2, Pick 56 overall
Deebo’s collegiate career was bold and electric, and his draft experience will be too.
With Rob Gronkowski announcing his retirement earlier this offseason, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady need to find ways to distribute the targets and snaps that would have gone to the future Hall of Famer. New England has multiple options early on in this draft, having one first round pick and two second round picks. They could go searching for Gronk’s replacement at tight end, add an outside, bigger wide receiver or simply be the Patriots and do something unforeseen.
Sure, Belichick has been known to get more than what anyone would have expected out of lesser-known players chosen in the latter rounds of the draft. Julian Edelman went from Kent State quarterback to a wide receiver who garnered MVP honors at Super Bowl LIII. Undrafted Penn State lacrosse and Monmouth University football alum Chris Hogan found more success catching passes from Brady in Foxborough after starting his career in Buffalo.
But Belichick spent the 31st overall pick on former Georgia running back Sony Michel just last year. This time around, he will use his first of two second round picks on another playmaker from another SEC East school in Deebo Samuel.
Matthew Tantillo – Sports writer
Pittsburgh Steelers: Round 2, Pick 52 overall
With all the Antonio Brown drama that ensued earlier this offseason, the Steelers have big shoes to fill at the wide receiver position.
Being a very defensive top-heavy draft, the Steelers will most likely add to their already potent defense, ranking sixth in the NFL in yards per game allowed, in the first round.
The second round is where many draft experts have Deebo being taken and I have no disagreement with that.
CBS Sports has Samuel as the seventh-ranked WR in the draft, so many teams, if they choose to draft a receiver early, will probably pass on him to start.
Now that Brown is currently in Oakland with the Raiders, the Steelers may have found his replacement in Deebo in the second round.
The Steelers are a good fit for Deebo because of their track record. They love the athletic, elusive receiver who can catch, and we’ve seen that with their past usage of Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Additionally, their quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, is a gunslinger who loves to throw deep and that is an area that Deebo can assist with.
Because Brown spent most of his time outside, that’s where Deebo will most likely fit in, although he has also proven to be explosive in the slot. The outside is no stranger to Deebo, with that being his home for a majority of the 2018 season with South Carolina.
If the Steelers use their pick on Deebo, they will get a receiver with the capability to strive in their system and produce right away.
Nate Shirley – Sports writer
Green Bay Packers: Round 2, Pick 44 overall
While a first round selection is a stretch, Deebo has the talent, stats and hype built up around him to earn himself a second round selection. New Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur is eager to get weapons to surround future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Deebo would slide into the role of slot receiver and his speed and hands make him tough to stick on. His stature will hurt his production on the outside, considering he is listed as only 5’11”, but he could see a lot of future success working out of the slot.