Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Frank Reich Has Big Plans For One Wide Receiver

Carolina Panthers head coach Frank Reich is planning on using wide receiver Laviska Shenault in a Deebo Samuel role this year.
Laviska Shenault

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Laviska Shenault did not do too much during his first season with the organization, but head coach Frank Reich might have a better idea of how to utilize his talents. Speaking with reporters, Reich said that Shenault has a similar skillset to Deebo Samuel, and the team will try to utilize him in the same role.

Frank Reich To Use Laviska Shenault In A Deebo Samuel Role

Laviska Shenault Throughout the Years

Laviska Shenault has a season to forget during his first season with Carolina. Acquired in the offseason from the Jacksonville Jaguars, the former second-round pick finished the season with just 27 receptions for 272 yards and one touchdown on 32 targets. Additionally, the elusive dual-threat added another nine carries for 65 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

Normally, numbers like this shouldn’t excite anybody. However, Shenault has proven that he can be an exciting player with the ball in his hands and maintain that electric playmaking in a larger workload. During his rookie season, the Colorado product was the lone bright spot on the Jacksonville Jaguars, recording 58 receptions for 600 yards and five touchdowns on 79 targets while adding 18 carries for 91 yards. He followed this up with a decent enough 2021, finishing the year with 63 receptions for 619 yards on 100 targets.

Laviska Shenault may not be the greatest route runner in the world, but there is no denying how electric he is in the open field. It stands to reason that a better head coach than Matt Rhule and Urban Meyer could unlock an exciting playmaker, but could he really be as good as Deebo Samuel?

Is Deebo Samuel A Realistic Comparison?

Deebo Samuel and Laviska Shenault have a similar play style, but Samuel is a considerably more refined player. While Shenault is limited to gadget plays and needs to be schemed into the open field, Samuel can legitimately win as a route runner and has the strength to haul in contested catches. Shenault has moments of greatness on tape, but he lacks Samuel’s consistency to win as a true wide receiver.

Additionally, while Frank Reich is one of the better offensive head coaches in the NFL, he’s no Kyle Shanahan. There is a strong case to be made that Shanahan is the best offensive mind in football, and Reich simply doesn’t have his ability to create favorable matchups and isolate Samuel in space. So, even if Laviska Shenault and Deebo Samuel were equal players, Samuel would likely still put up better numbers in a more favorable scheme.

This is all one long way of saying that Laviska Shenault will not be as successful as one of the most dangerous wide receivers in football. However, that doesn’t mean he can’t have a role on the team.

Plenty of guys like Shenault have carved out a niche in the NFL, and there is no reason why the right coaching staff can’t come up with a few packages that make the most of Shenault’s elite ability after the catch. While he probably won’t make the Pro Bowl, he could end up doing well in a pre-Falcons Cordarrelle Patterson role.

Main Photo: Joe Nicholson – USA Today Sports


More Posts

Send Us A Message