The former Carolina Panthers wide receiver is signing with the Washington Football Team, per multiple reports. Samuel will join his former head coach, Ron Rivera, and general manager, Marty Hurney in Washington.
Samuel was drafted by the Panthers in the second round in 2017 out of Ohio State. For the first three years of his career, his role in the offense did not quite come together. Samuel’s scrimmage yards increased each season, but he was rarely used as a rusher.
But his best career season came just before hitting free agency last fall. Samuel had his first 1,000-yard scrimmage season in 2020 with a career-high 200 rushing yards.
He became a key part of the offense, especially on third down. In 2020, Samuel caught 28 of 35 targets (80%) on third down. His receptions were the fourth-most on the down across the NFL and on 18 occasions those receptions converted first downs.
Overall this past season, Samuel caught a career-high 79.4% passes thrown his way. One area that was down in 2020, though, was his touchdowns. Samuel finished the season with only five touchdowns after completing the previous two years with seven each.
The wide receiver became a favorite of head coach Matt Rhule, who frequently praised his efforts for doing the things that rarely get recognized, such as blocking and being willing to contribute in whatever way offensive coordinator Joe Brady needed him.
“He doesn’t say very much, doesn’t complain, doesn’t make excuses; he’s just got a tough mindset. And he does whatever needs to be done,” Rhule said in November. “You can coach him. If he says something to me, I listen. I have a lot of respect for him. He’s so versatile, to be able … to have someone who can run and catch and get open and block, to do it at his level might be rare, and it’s a lot of credit to him.“