2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Asante Samuel Jr.
By Charlie Campbell
Summary: Being the son of legend is never easy given the accompanying big expectations, but Asante Samuel Jr. turned in a quality career for the Seminoles. In 2019, Samuel was able to get onto the field for a big role and totaled 48 tackles with an interception and 14 passes defended. He then racked up 30 tackles, three interceptions and six passes defended in 2020. Samuel could have returned for the 2021 season, but decided to enter the 2021 NFL Draft.
On the positive side, Samuel is an above-average athlete with good instincts, quality strength, and balance. He is a gritty corner who possesses some ball skills and a knack for making splash plays. Thanks to having functional power for a small corner, Samuel can tackle, and he really competes.
On the negative side, Samuel is not fast and is small. He does not have a short-area burst and lacks ideal long speed. In the NFL, Samuel is going to be challenged to run with receivers vertically downfield. His size also hurts him as he can get bumped and "out-physicaled" by bigger receivers. Tall receivers are able to make catches over Samuel with ease, and he gives the offense a size mismatch - see Notre Dame game in 2020. Samuel can get handsy in downfield coverage at times as well and was flagged for too many penalties in college.
For the NFL, Samuel looks like a backup slot corner who might develop into being a starter at nickel corner. He is small and slow though, so he might top out as a fourth or fifth corner whp contributes on special teams. There has been some media hype of Samuel going in the first or second round, but some team sources have told me they graded Samuel as a fourth-round pick.
Player Comparison: Mackensie Alexander. Similar to Samuel, Alexander (5-10, 192) had some media hype but teams were lower on him. They are almost identical in size, and Alexander has been limited to being a slot corner because of his lack of height and speed. Samuel could follow a similar path in the NFL.
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