ASHBURN, Va. -- Curtis Samuel adds blazing speed, a load of versatility and familiarity to the Washington Football Team offense in 2021.
He's the perfect fit and inside the building always has been regarded as the favorite for Washington, despite many pushing for Kenny Golladay and others.
He's the right fit from a skillset standpoint and a cost factor. To pay a receiver $18-20 million per year this year, knowing what is directly ahead in the next two years from a contract standpoint, would have been less than wise.
He's also "right'' in the way he'll pair with old friend Terry McLaurin.
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Yes, Samuel has had some drop issues in his career, although that isue seems to be heading in the right direction. He had five last year compared to seven in 2019, but that was also on 103 targets, per PFF. During his final year in Carolina, he was targeted 93 times.
Clearly, the familiarity that Samuel has with coach Ron Rivera, coordinator Scott Turner, these position coaches, the offensive scheme and Terry McLaurin (both receivers being from Ohio State) all factors in.
Some Washington fans get annoyed by the constant 'Carolina Connection' additions just like they did with Bruce Allen and Tampa ... until they get excited by a talent and fit like Samuel is.
We didn't realize that Samuel was as explosive and versatile as he is until watching him in person at FedExField in a Week 16 win for Carolina over Washington.
In that game, he ripped off a 45-yard run from a natural running back alignment that set up a touchdown, and hauled in a 44-yard catch from Teddy Bridgewater that could have been a score if he didn't have to wait for the ball.
Samuel also got behind the Washington defense on another deep pass but Bridgewater overfired the pass for an incomplete.
Last year for Carolina, with a new regime in place, Samuel played 71.4% of the time out of the slot, according to PFF.
He had 334 yards after the catch (YAC) or 4.3 YAC/reception and seven contested catches on 11 contested catch targets.
In his last year in Turner's offense, Samuel, who has 4.31 timed speed, played in the slot only 28.7% of the time - which could be an indication of how Washington plans to use him here.
Terry McLaurin and Cam Sims can both work inside. Sims had 20.6% of his snaps inside in 2021 which was down from 2019 before Turner arrived.
McLaurin worked out of the slot 31.2% of the time last year, up significantly from 23.5% in his rookie year.
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One thing you can see is this: The WFT has plenty of versatility at their top three receiver spots and then it will be up to Steven Sims Jr., Kelvin Harmon & Jeff Badet to fill in the rest of the group.
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Washington will be able to stack, bunch and spray their receivers more this year because of the versatility and oh yeah, speed.
Samuel runs a 4.31 and McLaurin was timed at 4.35. They now have two burners in Washington who can stretch the field vertically and work over the middle and underneath.
This is by far the best WFT tandem since Pierre Garcon and Desean Jackson ... and if Logan Thomas, Cam Sims and Antonio Gibson can stay reasonably healthy, with newcomer Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB, this will be the best Washington offensive group since 2015.