2022 Finding ‘The Next Deebo’ (Washington vs. NY Giants) -- March Madness Tourney Sweet 16
Same Intro each day: We all know what the phrase ‘next Deebo’ means – a player who works at one position primarily but takes on a second position (in-game) beyond just a random 1-2-3 carries or targets…that they become a real dual-threat option for their team, and thus a great producer for Fantasy Football.
Before there was ‘Deebo’ (midway through the 2021 season), there was ‘Cordarrelle’ as the breakout WR who started also taking a good workload at RB…so much so he became the team’s lead RB, but then got all but dropped on his WR aspect.
Before ‘Cordarrelle’ there was Curtis Samuel trying to breakthrough as a ‘nails’ WR in 2020, but also a guy taking 3-5 carries a game in CMC’s absence and looking like he might make the turn – but then he went to Washington in free agency, got hurt, and barely played/impacted in 2021.
Before Samuel there was everyone looking for the ‘next Tyreek’. We might forget that Tyreek started out as a low target WR taking 1-2 carries a game, and then taking every carry for a 50+ yard TD…then he was converted over from random WR/RB to main WR, and they stopped pushing him in the running game the past two years (definitely don’t get that guy the ball more, whatever you do).
We’ve had some promising guys try to breakdown this ‘Deebo’ wall, but Cordarrelle really was the one who kicked in that door to start 2021 season (then ATL went away from it)…after the door was kicked in, then Deebo ran right through it 2nd-half of 2021 and became the ultimate/best dual threat of our lifetimes – so much so every analyst is running around saying certain players ‘can be their Deebo’, and you’re going to get sick of hearing about it they say it so much now. But credit to Deebo (really, credit to Kyle Shanahan) the ‘Deebo’ role is a thing now…I think some teams are going to copy because of its success, as they should…as they should’ve created it years ago. It’s the evolution of the game – players/weapons who you don’t know where they’re gonna lineup or what they’re going to do, and they’ll draw plenty of mismatches to expose.
With that in mind, we’re going to have a ‘next Deebo’ tournament/FFM daily series for the next few weeks during March Madness time.
I am going to nominate one player from each NFL team to be the possible ‘next Deebo’…the ‘their Deebo’ hopeful. I’ll explain why I choose that player, and why not others if there was a close option – and then like March Madness, we’ll pit two of them against each other/state the case and I’ll choose a winner…the one most likely to be used as ‘the next Deebo’ for the 2022 season.
We’ll go by division, matchups by 2021 record (so #1 v. #4, #2 v. #3 in the division), one matchup/winner declared each day into April until we have one AFC rep and one NFC rep and then we’ll declare a final ‘Super Bowl of Deebo’ winner.
Now, San Francisco has their own Deebo already…so he is not in this tournament. For the SF slot, there will be a play-in game between two current draft prospect options. Unsigned free agents will be an option for the team they were last on in 2021, so like a heavy Final Four favorite, but current free agent (as of this writing), Cordarrelle Patterson, will be an option for Atlanta. Got it? Good. Let’s go…
Today’s Matchup = NFC East Finals: NYG vs. WSH
WR Curtis Samuel, WSH
WR Kadarius Toney, NYG
The battle of two of the preeminent ‘next Deebo’ options in the NFL…but only one can go forward.
Both guys have a history of the ‘Deebo’ work…
Curtis Samuel, probably the greatest true WR-RB split we’ve ever seen from college work. A legit, successful starting tailback and legit starting ‘money’ WR at Ohio State. He literally rotated drive-to-drive in each role…and was very good-to-great in each role. In his final college season, Samuel rushed the ball 97 times for 771 yards and 8 TDs, while catching 74 passes for 865 yards and 7 TDs. He’s really a phenomenal talent and radically underutilized for years…but getting a bit more ‘Deebo’ usage as we go.
Kadarius Toney was labeled as a ‘utility’ position/player at Florida his first 3 seasons. In those first 3 years for Florida, he caught 50 passes and ran the ball 47 times…then broke out as a (predominantly) WR star his senior year.
Last NFL season (2021), Samuel was hurt…a lot…but when in the lineup, Washington was getting him involved on jet sweeps, etc. They signed him to a big free agent deal and showed they wanted him to play some kind of dual role.
In 2021, Toney was a ‘wow’ right off the bat for NYG -- as a WR who could run the ball and throw passes, but then he kept getting hurt and losing all his momentum.
Samuel has much more history in the receiver + runner role. He was a legit tailback for Carolina when CMC was down in 2020 season, and not just a scatback…the dude is tough, running goal line interior plays and driving through tackles 50-100+ heavier than him…but like the rest of his Carolina career…they didn’t push the potential near enough. The rest of his underutilized career (prior to 2020) in Carolina was at the hands of Ron Rivera…who he is now back with in Washington. Samuel should be the favorite to move on here, but I will go with Kadarius Toney as the more likely ‘next Deebo’ because he fits the profile better but mostly because I trust Brian Daboll to try and implement it more than Rivera…I suspect Rivera will give 1-2 running plays per game here and there to Samuel, whereas Daboll might go full scale Deebo, 3-5 carries, 1-2 passes, and a lead WR…maybe.
WINNER = Kadarius Toney, who goes on to the Elite 8 to face NFC West winner Rondale Moore.