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NFL Draft

Amon-Ra St. Brown Has Clear Path to Success in Detroit

  • The Draft Network
  • May 13, 2021
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Throughout history, the Detroit Lions haven’t been shy about their love for wide receivers—notoriously known for selecting wide receivers in the first round in three consecutive drafts under the tutelage of Matt Millen when he drafted Charles Rogers, Roy Williams, and Mike Williams during the 2003-2005 span. Casting a huge shadow over a forgetful moment in team history, the team righted their wrong by selecting Calvin Johnson only two years afterward. An abrupt retirement sent the team in a downward spiral at the position, but signing Golden Tate fresh off of his rookie contract, drafting Kenny Golladay, and a few years of consistency from Marvin Jones helped alleviate some of the pain from a franchise icon.

The Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia era was an eyesore for a franchise that at least was used to hovering around mediocrity under Jim Caldwell. After the dismissal of Caldwell, the franchise failed to return to its normal ways. 

After a complete overhaul of the roster that included the trade of Matthew Stafford, it’s not a secret that the team is set for a long-term rebuild. A breath of fresh air in a sense with Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell now at the helm, for what seems like a long time, there’s some sort of plan that’s being implemented. Staying the course and true to the vision, they elected to build the team from the inside out. 

An old scouting term always suggests that if there’s any doubt about a plan when rebuilding a team, it’s hard to go wrong with strengthening the trenches and working your way outward. A philosophy that Holmes clearly deployed during his first-ever draft as a general manager, his first three picks included players along the offensive and defensive fronts. Selecting Penei Sewell, Levi Onwuzurike, and Alim McNeill proved that, but his first selection elsewhere included an addition to the wide receiver room.

After the loss of both Golladay and Jones to free agency, a strong case can be made that the team currently has the worst wide receiver depth chart in the league. In the fourth round though, Holmes opted to select USC receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown.

A pre-draft comparison to Tate was often used for St. Brown as he enters a situation that has a clear pathway to success. With a new quarterback in town in Jared Goff, developing chemistry and the likelihood of becoming a go-to target gives St. Brown the chance to possibly become a key piece early on for the Lions. Last season alone, St. Brown played a mixture of slot (116) and perimeter (293) snaps. That versatility will be key in offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn’s offense

Given his mature frame, polish as a router-runner, and skill set that has the potential to be an early contributor, St. Brown’s early success could mostly come from the slot. Because of his lack of length and other players already present on the roster that are best suited as perimeter options, the former Trojan could take advantage of those lost targets from the team's top two talents from a season ago.

Value and good football players were the clear emphases of Holmes’ first draft in the Motor City. St. Brown has the potential to prove why he was a worthy investment for what some evaluators had graded as a Day 2 selection. A team starved for talent at multiple spots on the depth chart, St. Brown will have ample amounts of opportunities to make his presence felt early and often as a rookie.

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