Next up in the Unpacking a Future Packers countdown is Amon-Ra St. Brown. The USC wide receiver checks in at number 11 in the countdown.
The Green Bay Packers have had great success drafting wide receivers in the second round of the NFL Draft. In the last 16 years, they’ve selected Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Davante Adams in the second round.
With that track record who needs to draft a wide receiver in the first round?
With Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard, and Equanimeous St. Brown all set to be free agents following the 2021-2022 season, it would be shocking to see the Packers leave draft weekend without a new rookie wide receiver.
It’s been seven years since the Packers selected Adams with the 53rd overall pick. It may be time for the Packers to go back to their bread and butter and select a wide receiver in the second round 2021 NFL Draft.
The 2021 wide receiver class is loaded and there could be a handful of options for the Packers to choose from with the 62nd pick. USC’s Amon-Ra St. Brown.
St. Brown came to USC as a five-star recruit. In 2018 he led the Trojans in receptions (60) for 750 yards and three touchdowns. The following season, St. Brown hauled in 77 receptions for 1,042 yards and six touchdowns. He also added a rushing touchdown.
In six games this past season, St. Brown caught 41 receptions for 478 yards and seven touchdowns. During his three-year career at USC, St. Brown averaged 5.6 yards per punt return.
St. Brown has a Master’s degree in route running. He has fancy footwork and there are no wasted movements. He’s sharp in and out of his breaks. He’s easily able to create separation. He has a high football IQ and is a great ability to find the open spots in zone coverage. St. Brown has an explosive suddenness in his release that makes defenders look absolutely silly.
St. Brown’s strength lies in his ability to make use of the full route tree from either the slot or outside and in his distinct talent to make defenders miss after the catch. His lack of explosiveness is a slight cause of concern, but that hasn’t stopped him producing at the college ranks — and the same can be said about his pro potential.
St. Brown isn’t the most dynamic or explosive wide receiver in this class. At USC’s pro day he ran a 4.59 40-yard dash. However, he does have some juice after the catch. He’s tough to bring down on first contact due to his strength.
“Yards after the catch is something I really pride myself on,” St. Brown said at USC’s pro day. “Yards after the catch is huge for a receiver and I take that very seriously.”
It’s been well documented that Matt LaFluer wants his wide receivers to be good blockers out on the perimeter. Watching St. Brown’s work as a blocker just makes you picture LaFleur in his office at 1265 Lombardi Avenue smiling from ear to ear.
“St. Brown is a solid blocker,” Mason Thompson, an editor for Prime Time Sports Talk said. “Something we all know Matt LaFleur loves to have with his receivers.”
During his time at USC, St. Brown lined up in the slot and on the boundary. He was most effective working out of the slot, but he’s fully capable of playing outside at the next level.
Fit with the Packers
St. Brown is a day two pick all day long. If the Packers want him they’ll have to take him with the 62 pick or trade up for him in the third round.
St. Brown checks all the boxes. He’s a crisp route runner. He’s got solid hands. He has juice after the catch. All those tools equal up to him being a quarterback’s best friend working in the middle of the field from the slot.
“While he doesn’t have elite speed, his route running prowess is excellent and perhaps the best in the class,” Thompson said. “He can line up in the slot or on the outside and would give Green Bay a great number two option at the receiver spot outside of Davante Adams.”
LaFleur is from the Sean McVay coaching tree. There is a player that currently plays for McVay that reminds me of St. Brown. That player is Cooper Kupp.
Kupp isn’t the most dynamic wide receiver. He just always seems to be open. When I watch St. Brown I think Kupp.
Kupp is a good blocker. St. Brown is an absolute dog as a run blocker. Kupp is a very good route runner. St. Brown is a polished route runner. Kupp ran a 4.62 40-yard dash. St. Brown clocked a 4.59 40-yard dash. Kupp had a 1.62 10-yard split. St. Brown posted a 1.63 10-yard split. Neither guy is a burner. But, both guys are excellent route runners with good hands.
Kupp has developed into a very good wide receiver for McVay. Maybe St. Brown can turn into Matt LaFleur’s version of Kupp in Green Bay.
It’s been seven years since the Packers selected Davante Adams in the second round. With so much uncertainty surrounding the future of the wide receiver position, it may be time for Brian Gutekunst to restock the talent inside the wide receiver cupboard at 1265 Lombardi Avenue.