The NFL draft was more than a one night win for the San Francisco 49ers back in late April. While most people will be distracted by the selection of Nick Bosa, it is the offensive players the 49ers selected afterwards that made their draft a success.
I’m referring mainly to wide receiver Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd. These are two players that are freak athletes that will optimize Kyle Shanahans play calling. Each brings their own unique dynamic to the table that has Shanahan drooling at the thought of drawing up plays.
Samuel was easily the most polished route runner in the 2019 draft class, along with his play making ability after the catch. Cornerbacks be advised when attempting to jam Samuel at the line. His quick feet allows him to change direction on a dime, so double moves will be his go to. It’s why Shanahan wanted him in his ranks. Samuel’s skill-set is perfect for what he wants to do. He can dial up almost any type of route knowing Samuel will execute.
With those talents alone Samuel is a solid receiver, but it's his versatility that fully optimizes Kyle Shanahan's play calling. Samuel can excel anywhere on the field whether that's as an outside receiver or in the slot. That's what Shanahan's values most is a player's versatility. Just look at all the 49er's receivers and you'll notice almost all of them excel in the slot. Even tight end George Kittle is dangerous coming out of the slot.
It's no accident that they brought in these players because Shanahan is a creative mind. He wants to throw so many different looks at defenses to scheme his players open even if they don't have the skill-set necessary to do so. Luckily with Deebo Samuel he gets the best of both worlds. Do not be shocked if Samuel puts up some astronomical numbers in some games this season.
While Deebo Samuel is the complete package at wide receiver, Jalen Hurd is the complete gadget player. An example of a gadget player would be Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen because he does it all from a pre-snap standpoint and live action. With Jalen Hurd, Kyle Shanahan will be able to swing him around in multiple spots in formations. Hurd could start out in a receiver position, then motion into the backfield. Jet sweeps with various motions can also be tied with Hurd.
Much like with Deebo Samuel, Jalen Hurd is a versatile player. He's not the talent as Samuel is, but he does have the skill to be a threat at any position on offense. Defenses are not going to know where the ball is going with Hurd out there. Once again, it's all about the different looks and even motions to confuse a defense's assignments.
With Hurd and Samuel in the mix, Shanahan has a whole offense filled with interchangeable pieces. Almost all of the wide receivers can play in the slot and the almost all of the running backs can come out of the backfield as a receiver. We are going to see a lot of these players wide open because lapses in coverage will happen with Shanahan's tricky offense.