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Why one NFL draft expert compares FSU’s Asante Samuel Jr. to Bucs’ Antoine Winfield Jr.

The NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah sees a common thread between the Seminoles’ draft prospect and the Bucs’ standout rookie.
Asante Samuel Jr., seen here breaking up a pass against Miami in 2019, is a likely Day 2 pick in this spring's NFL draft.
Asante Samuel Jr., seen here breaking up a pass against Miami in 2019, is a likely Day 2 pick in this spring's NFL draft. [ MARK WALLHEISER | The Associated Press ]
Published Mar. 12
Updated Mar. 12

The obvious NFL comparison for Florida State defensive back Asante Samuel Jr. is his father. Samuel’s dad made four Pro Bowls and won a pair of Super Bowls during an 11-year career with the Patriots, Eagles and Falcons.

NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah sees similarities with how the two Samuels move, anticipate throws and use their eyes.

But Jeremiah has another, less obvious comp for the 5-foot-10, 184-pound Seminole: Bucs safety Antoine Winfield Jr.

Bucs rookie Antoine Winfield Jr. delivered one of the defining images of Tampa Bay's Super Bowl triumph at Raymond James Stadium.
Bucs rookie Antoine Winfield Jr. delivered one of the defining images of Tampa Bay's Super Bowl triumph at Raymond James Stadium. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]

Winfield isn’t the biggest player, either, at 5-feet-9, 203 pounds, and there were minor things to pick apart with his game coming out of Minnesota.

But he grew up around the game as the son of a great player. Winfield didn’t only contribute immediately in Tampa Bay; he shined as a key part of the Bucs’ Super Bowl team.

Related: Bucs rookie Antoine Winfield Jr. turns Super Bowl fine into philanthropy

“We saw Antoine Winfield Jr., the impact he made with the Bucs,” Jeremiah said this week in a Zoom call with reporters. “I think this is the same type of situation with Asante Samuel, where you can try and nitpick him and ding him. He’s not the biggest, probably not going to be the fastest. He’s just a really, really good football player.”

Samuel showed that in his eight starts last season as a first-team all-ACC selection. He is one of only three Seminoles since 2000 with at least three interceptions and two fumble recoveries in the same season. He also recorded 31 tackles and broke up six passes.

Asante Samuel Jr. had this interception against Georgia Tech as part of his all-ACC season.
Asante Samuel Jr. had this interception against Georgia Tech as part of his all-ACC season. [ DON JUAN MOORE | Don Juan Moore ]

ESPN’s Mel Kiper has called Samuel “underrated” and a likely second-round pick. Jeremiah doesn’t see him slipping out of Day 2.

Related: Florida State’s future hasn’t looked this bright in years

We’ll learn more about Samuel and his draft stock after FSU’s pro day later this month.