A record 115 underclassmen declared for the 2020 NFL draft, so it’s easy to see how a few players could go a bit under the radar leading up to the Combine.
Still, for a 6-foot-2, 185 pound cornerback out of Florida State to receive so little draft buzz is a bit surprising – but that’s starting to change for Stanford Samuels III.
Samuels was tabbed as a potential second-round target by Miami in the most recent scouting notebook from The Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller. In that report, Miller said he had moved LSU cornerback Kristian Fulton out of his top-32, adding that Fulton is in the mix for the second-tier of CBs alongside TCU’s Jeff Gladney, Utah’s Jaylon Johnson, Clemson’s A.J. Terrell, Alabama’s Trevon Diggs, Auburn’s Noah Igbinoghene and Mississippi State’s Cameron Dantzler.
And there was one other name in Miller’s “Tier 2” group: Samuels.
However, Miller is one of the few draft analysts to rate Samuels that high, as most have him rated as a Day 3 prospect. Drafttek, for example, ranks Samuels as its No. 203 rated prospect, or the 21st-best cornerback. Neal Driscoll of Pro Football Network has Samuels being drafted with pick No. 199 in his latest seven-round mock draft. The latest Fanspeak-Steve big board doesn’t have Samuels ranked among its top 300 prospects.
— Stanford Samuels III (@SSIII_) January 28, 2019
Walter Football, meanwhile, ranks Samuels as the 15th-best cornerback. From their scouting report on Samuels:
“He has quality size to him and would fit best in a press-man scheme.”
Samuels finished last season with a career-high 60 tackles to go along with seven passes defended and two interceptions, giving him career totals of 145 tackles, 16 PDs and eight INTs.
Jordan Foote of Clutch Sports offered a more detailed look at Samuels, calling him a “lengthy corner” with “plus athleticism” who can play man or zone.
“With that said, he’s far from a perfect player,” Foote said. “Despite his size, Samuels lacks good strength. This could be a problem in run support and/or against bigger receivers. No prospect is perfect, but this could lower his floor in the NFL a little bit. Perhaps a professional weights/nutrition program will do him good.”
Regardless, Samuels will almost assuredly restart FSU’s defensive back draft history. The 2019 draft broke a seven-year streak in which at least one DB from the school was drafted. Overall, Florida State has had at least one DB drafted in 21 of the past 31 drafts, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.