By Jacob Bourgeois; Twitter: @JacobBourgieFFB
Following a series on Backfield Battles (here: Jets, Pats, Cardinals, and Buffalo), this addresses the murkiest pass-catching situations. Wide receivers by sheer quantity are less sexy than Running Backs, but I think this series will pay dividends to those who, like me, favor a “Robust RB” strategy.
First up is Detroit as they boast zero WR1s, 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, or 6s. Because of depth with which I’d like to go, I’ll focus on one player at a time in order of interest to me. Today: Amon-Ra St. Brown. The first article on Breshad Perriman is here.
The Depth Chart
The Wide Receiver
Amon-Ra St. Brown ECR WR 80, ADP WR 68 / Overall 202
Age: 21, 6’0, 196 lbs. 4.6 40 time
Drafted: 4th Rd. 112th Pick.
2020 (RS Junior): 7 catches/gm, 80 yards/gm, 1.2 TD/gm per game at USC.
Film Notes: Nice routes, hands, contested catches, separation, sweeps.
Pre-NFL Draft Rookie Profile included in: “Meet the Freshmen”.
The above tweet and referenced article highlights that he is coming from a great program with guys that have found nice success in the NFL (Michael Pittman most recently). He could very well be next guy up.
He’s the younger brother of Equanimeous St. Brown WR-GBP and Osiris St. Brown WR-Stanford. Their dad is a professional body builder and artist who seems to have been focused on his children’s superstardom long before they were born. Equanimeous coming out was a little faster and stronger but didn’t do as much at Notre Dame. And we all know the little brother stories… ARSB will have been forced to develop “skills” on a steeper angle to keep up with OSB and ESB (family was well detailed in this article by SBNation.com ARSB Name Meaning).
He had a highlight reel game vs. Texas as a red-shirt freshman and didn’t look back at USC building on that success steadily year over year (1000 yards as a sophomore, and on pace in 6 games to match it in his Covid-shortened 2020, while more than doubling his Touchdown pace).
He’s projected as a slot receiver who will be able to contribute outside when needed. The depth chart as shown above includes nothing proven at the WR position but outside starters should be Perriman and Williams.
The slot WR position with Jared Goff is particularly interesting to me because of his affinity with Cooper Kupp in LA. In fact, they have similar profiles (brought to us by the unmatched www.playerprofiler.com):
Anthony Lynn and Dan Campbell are both coming from very strong RB featured passing games (Ekeler and Kamara) and have what they need in Swift. So I agree that a lot of the underneath work is going to be absorbed by D’Andre Swift, but I like how Amon-Ra projects to be an easy read with beatable matchups in the slot for Goff’s quick read and go style of QB play. If (somewhat of a big if) the coaches want to see Goff succeed they’ll do some catering for him and I would think it’ll look more like Drew Brees than Justin Herbert. It’s true that because of the defense, they’ll need to push the ball down the field which favors the outside guys and TJ Hockenson in the 4th quarter. But, if/when defenses go full prevent, I picture ARSB free to roam underneath and move the chains. We all know that targets are earned and not given – so it’s a four way race for ARSB with Cephus, Perriman, and Williams behind TJ and Swift.
As a rookie who has yet to prove his ceiling, we have to assume it’s wide opened, and if you’re looking for a Detroit WR to target this year, for me (so far) it’s St. Brown. As he’s essentially free, he more than anyone else, is worth the last round pick in redraft to see if he pops week 1, and definitely gets a spot on my taxi squad in Dynasty.
Cover photo credit: Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images via https://www.prideofdetroit.com/