asante samuel jr. He ranks 40th on the consensus big board of the A’s 2021 NFL draft, 11 spots below his place in PFF’s final top 300. but i think despite his size, the florida state product deserves to be higher on those draft boards because we’ve done this experiment once before with his father, asante samuel sr.
It would be lazy to compare him to his father because they share a name, but it’s amazing how similar they are as players when you cast the tape. So I think we can project the junior career in the NFL with a higher degree of certainty than if we hadn’t seen this a decade ago.
Reading: Asante samuel jr 40 time
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samuel doesn’t fit the modern prototype of a no. 1 corner The league has been chasing size and length at the position for years, and the current prototype is a player like Jalen Ramsey, a 6-foot-1, 208-pound specimen who can run 4.4 flats in the 40s and go face to face. with the most physically gifted receivers in the game around the clock.
samuel falls short of that billing in virtually every way. he’s substantially shorter (5-foot-10) and lighter (180 pounds), and he doesn’t make up for that with breakneck speed, as evidenced by his 4.45-second 40-yard dash.
if we were looking at samuel as a physical profile, he would be closer to a red flag than a prototype. But there is one exception, an aspect of his game that separates him from a draft class that isn’t short of promising corner prospects. This aspect, critical to his potential success at the next level, is his instant acceleration.
while samuel’s 4.45-yard dash time ranks in the 62nd percentile, his 10-yard split (1.50) ranks in the 91st. that instantaneous acceleration appears all over his tape and is vital if he wants to become a top tier nfl player, the same way he was to his father.
When I used the tape to create Samuel’s preliminary profile, his ability to instantly accelerate and move towards the ball kept showing up in a variety of different ways.
I wrote the following about his t-step, which is the foot a corner kick plants into the turf to get off his backpedal and push the ball once the receiver makes his fast break:
if caleb farley has the fastest closing blast i remember seeing, samuel jr. he has the best and fastest t-step when he comes off his back pedal to drive into a receiver that breaks in front of him. there’s just zero wasted movement, and he can completely reverse all of his momentum and drive in that step. it’s exactly how they teach you to do it, but I don’t remember seeing such a perfect execution of the skill before.
Over and over on his tape, I saw how he’s been able to be a playmaker and a hawk despite not being blessed with the same physical tools that other cornerbacks have.
in each of his first two seasons at florida state, samuel recorded nine interrupted passes before that number dropped to five this year (with three interceptions), but his overall coverage numbers improved in the most recent season . Samuel allowed a passer rating of just 46.2 when he was targeted and gave up a total of 179 yards in eight games.
asante samuel sr. He was an exceptional NFL cornerback with a physical profile practically identical to that of his son. the entire pff rating in the nfl dates back to 2006 so we’re missing the early years of samuel’s career but he allowed a passer rating of just 56.4 and a 56.5% completion rate for that portion of his career we have.
asante samuel sr: coverage stats from 2006-2013, ranking among the corners with 250 or more targets in coverage
His first full season we’ve recorded was one of the best statistical years we’ve seen at the position in 15 years of rating. In 2006, Samuel allowed a 31.0 passer rating when he was coached, nearly 10 points less than if the quarterback had thrown the ball to the ground on every play instead of testing his coverage.