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Kyle Shanahan, Frank Gore rave about Deebo Samuel’s rushing ability

Lynch, Shanahan, Gore are big fans of Deebo’s rushing ability originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Deebo Samuel is one of the most unique players in the NFL. 

The 49ers wide receiver is so elite as a runner after contact, that he has shown to be almost as effective on the ground as he is through the air. 

Carrying the ball eight times for 79 yards (a career-best) in the 49ers’ 30-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 11, Samuel’s presence on the ground has been felt more this season than his previous two seasons. 

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan joined KNBR’s “Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks” on Wednesday, where he discussed Deebo’s impressive rushing ability, and a strange comparison he has for the third-year receiver. 

“Deebo is just so unique in how he’s built,” Shanahan said. “He isn’t really built like a receiver, he is built more like a running back. Sometimes I compare him to a fullback when I’m just messing with him.

“His power and his stride, we joke with him that he’s got a little Fred Flintstone stride, but it gets going. Some of the runs that he hit in the game, I was showing to the team, and people don’t get the burst that he has. Not right away, but right when the hole is about to close up and he can just get through it. I was telling the team that I’ve only had one player like that, and that’s [Raheem Mostert]. Raheem can hit those seams when they close, and people think they’ve got him, but then he has this other gear where all of the sudden they don’t have him. Deebo is the most similar to that that I’ve seen.”

Former 49ers running back Frank Gore has taken notice of Samuel’s performance on the ground. Having sat with general manager John Lynch and CEO Jed York in a suite at TIAA Bank Field last Sunday, Lynch relayed Gore’s thoughts on how the 49ers should utilize Samuel’s rare ability. 

“He (Gore) loves Deebo as a running back,” Lynch said on KNBR on Wednesday morning. “He probably feels that if we just stuck with him at running back, he could be one of the best running backs in football. But he also understands that Deebo can do so much. He loves Deebo, just like everybody else does right now. It’s hard not to.” (h/t 49ers WebZone)

Of course, Lynch himself had nothing but praise for the receiver he and Shanahan selected in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. 

“Just give him the damn ball,” Lynch said. “I like that. I don’t care where it is. Shoot, earlier this year, when we were trying to get back in a game, we put him back at kick returner because he’s just so good with the ball in his hands.”And I’m so proud of Deebo too, the steps he’s taken as a professional. Even, I’m talking about him with the ball in his hands, I think one of the biggest keys to his season: He’s improved so much without the ball. That’s typically something we talk about in basketball.”

RELATED: Shanahan says 49ers were ‘huge fans’ of Jefferson in draft

As impressive as Samuel has been on the ground in limited action, it has been what he’s done through the air that has put the entire league on notice. 

Through 10 games, Samuel (55 receptions, 994 yards) is behind only Los Angeles Rams wideout Cooper Kupp (1,141 yards) for the most receiving yards in the NFL. 

Samuel and the 49ers’ offense will square off against a Minnesota Vikings defense that has surrendered the 17th most yards through the air, and the eighth most yards on the ground. Surely, there will be an opportunity for Samuel to get involved in some capacity.

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