Equanimeous St. Brown
By: Mark Leipold
- Hands Catcher
- Zone Awareness
- Catching in Traffic
Speed – St. Brown runs a 4.48 40-yard dash at 6’5” and 214 pounds, which is incredible. That speed shows on tape. Watch him burn the defense across the field and turn up the sideline for the score here. This is not a play made by most WRs of his size.
Hands Catcher – St. Brown is a natural hands catcher, which makes him a reliable target and also allows him to make plays on balls that are not quite on target. He has the strength to secure the ball away from his body. None of the following three clips would be possible without excellent athleticism and a natural tendency to catch with the hands and not with the body.
Zone Awareness – I will admit that I’m not sure if this was the route drawn up for him, but he appears to have his eyes downfield, looking off the safety, and then he cuts toward the sideline and gets as wide open as I’ve ever seen. He doesn’t get the ball, but he finds an excellent area of the field that would make for an easy 30-yard gain.
Catching In Traffic – This works with the praise of his hands. St. Brown also has the strength to make plays in traffic. Watch him go to ground in the end zone and secure this ball. This is not an easy catch, and it would be made even harder if he did not have strong hands and great body control.
Separation – St. Brown has excellent athleticism, but he uses awareness and technique to gain separation as well. Watch in the first two clips as he stops on a dime and uses his hands to gain separation (the second one against Virginia Tech’s top cornerback). The third clip shows him losing his cornerback in the dust by making smart cuts and subtle angle changes to his route.
- Back Shoulder Adjustments
- Effort (Blocking)
- Effort (Catching)
Back Shoulder Adjustments – St. Brown was plagued by poor QB play at Notre Dame, even when DeShone Kizer was at the helm. He is excellent at catching balls thrown on his body, or within his catch radius, but his adjustments are not his strong suit. Watch here as he is unable to adjust to a decently-throw ball. He gets a finger on it, but this is a pass he should come down with.
Effort on Blocking – NFL coaches don’t appreciate players who don’t give 100% effort, so I don’t think much needs to be said here. These two clips show his tendency to display a lack of interest and commitment to blocking. In the first clip, he lets the cornerback walk right around him, and the second one he appears to be waiting for the play to develop before realizing he should have gone downfield to block already, as if he expected the play to get stuffed at the line of scrimmage (note: that was his QB he let get hit).
Effort on Catches – This one is a head-scratcher for me because I saw a lot of things to really like about St. Brown’s game, but these clips look like a lack of effort to me. The first one shows him seemingly deciding not to jump for fear of being hit by the oncoming safety, and the second one shows what can only be a lapse in concentration because the ball was not deflected by the defensive back, nor was it knocked loose.
St. Brown is flying a bit under-the-radar since he had very modest production at the college level, but when taken in the context of Notre Dame’s anemic passing game, his statistics look much better. He has the requisite size and athleticism to be a prototypical WR1 for an NFL team, which could be accompanied by high draft capital. If St. Brown can get on the field early and be used as a big-play receiver and a red-zone weapon, he will have a good chance to show his potential.
St. Brown is one of the cheapest WRs in the 2018 class that has a chance to become the NFL WR1 prototype (think: Dez Bryant). Coincidentally, he’d make a lot of sense for a team like the Dallas Cowboys, who are making noise about moving on from Bryant and don’t have another big-bodied outside receiver. St. Brown’s value will be tied a lot to his draft capital and the offense he lands with. Draft capital turns into playing time at the wide receiver position, and St. Brown will also benefit immensely from landing on a good offense (such as Dallas) because he can immediately be used as a red-zone threat. I have him pegged around the mid-second round without knowing his landing spot.