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Curtis Samuel

Carolina receiver is versatile run-catch weapon

Curtis Samuel is heading for free agency, and he’ll have a market. He’s improved as a pass catcher, and he’s also an asset on running plays.

Samuel was raw coming out of Ohio State, where they used him in a simplified role. But he’s developed nicely, to where he was one of the league’s best third receivers last year. For the bulk of the season, there wasn’t much difference in Carolina between him and their other two main wide receivers (DJ Moore and Robby Anderson). Samuel caught 77 passes.

And Samuel is not only a wide receiver but can also be used like a running back. With the Panthers missing Christian McCaffrey for most of the season, they would flex Samuel into the backfield often, having Samuel doing some McCaffrey-type things, both running and receiving.

For the season, Samuel carried 41 times for 200 yards and 2 TDs. That was one of the top-10 rushing seasons by a wide receiver in the last 20 years.

That’s a concept that’s been on the rise around the league in general – using wide receivers as runners.

Below are the top 30 rushing seasons by wide receivers since 2000 (using 1 point for every 10 rushing yards and 6 points for touchdowns). Of those 30, five were put together by wide receivers in the just-completed season.

Year PlayerAttYardsAvgTDPts
2015Tavon Austin, St.L.524348.4467.4
2011Percy Harvin, MIn.523456.6246.5
2016Tyreek Hill, K.C.2426711.1344.7
2009Josh Cribbs, Cle.553816.9144.1
2010Brad Smith, NYJ382997.9135.9
2014Tavon Austin, St.L.362246.2234.4
2019Deebo Samuel, S.F.1415911.4333.9
2013Cordarrelle Patterson, MIn.1215813.2333.8
2017Tavon Austin, LAR592704.6133.0
2020Curtis Samuel, Car.412004.9232.0
2020Cordarrelle Patterson, Chi.642323.6129.2
2018Cordarrelle Patterson, N.E.422285.4128.8
2020Robert Woods, LAR241556.5227.5
2010Jacoby Ford, Oak.1015515.5227.5
2000Peter Warrick, Cin.161489.3226.8
2009Brad Smith, NYJ1820711.5126.7
2014Percy Harvin, Sea.-NYJ332026.1126.2
2002James Thrash, Phil.181267.0224.6
2020Tyreek Hill, K.C.131239.5224.3
2017Cordarrelle Patterson, Oak.131219.3224.1
2008Josh Cribbs, Cle.291675.8122.7
2016Tavon Austin, L.A.281595.7121.9
2018Robert Woods, LAR191578.3121.7
2018Tyreek Hill, K.C.221516.9121.1
2013Tavon Austin, St.L.915116.8121.1
2018Curtis Samuel, Car.88410.5220.4
2020Brandon Aiyuk, S.F.67712.8219.7
2009DeSean Jackson, Phil.1113712.5119.7
2008Ted Ginn, Mia.57314.6219.3
2015Mohamed Sanu, Cin.10717.1219.1

With Samuel’s all-round game, I think he’ll draw considerable interest as teams start mulling how to improve their rosters.

—Ian Allan

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