Editor’s note: ahead of a huge day of college football action, make sure you check out today’s early Bowl Game Previews, the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl Previews, and all of our 2018 Rookie Profiles. Before you know it, it will be NFL draft day!
Equanimeous St. Brown did not see much playing time as a freshman before taking over as a 12-game starter his sophomore season. He saw erratic quarterback play from DeShone Kizer, who completed only 58.7% of his passes in 2016. Still, St. Brown led the Notre Dame team with 58 receptions for 961 yards and nine touchdowns. Overall, he accounted for 25.9% of the team’s receptions, 31.5% of receiving yards, and 33.3% of receiving touchdowns.
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He took a major step back as a junior in 2017 with Brandon Wimbush as his new quarterback. Wimbush was a major downgrade from Kizer, completing a lowly 49.8% of his passes with only 6.8 yards per attempt. St. Brown struggled to replicate his numbers, recording only 31 receptions for 468 yards and four touchdowns through 11 games.
With that being said, St. Brown still accounted for 18.8% of the team’s receptions, 22.2% of receiving yards, and 22.2% of receiving touchdowns. While these numbers are certainly a drop off, it shows that he was still an above average receiver, accounting for 3.4% more yards and touchdowns than expected.
AS A RECRUIT
St. Brown was not necessarily a top recruit in 2015, ranking as 247Sports’ 18th overall wide receiver. He only graded out as a four star prospect, but he still received plenty of scholarship offers. He was courted by top teams, including Alabama, but was never offered a scholarship by these elite teams. Instead, St. Brown visited Notre Dame and Utah, ultimately signing with the former.
St. Brown is a physical specimen, as Notre Dame’s official website labels him as 6’5” and 203 pounds. There are some rumors swirling around that he is now closer to 210 pounds, but his weight likely will not be fully clarified until the NFL Combine. Regardless of his weight, St. Brown features an elite frame for an NFL receiver.
He also features the physical tools to play wide receiver. A major concern with tall receivers is their top end speed, but that has not been a concern throughout St. Brown’s career. According to 247Sports, he recorded a 4.44 40-yard dash coming out of high school. He has also displayed above average quickness for a receiver of his size throughout his collegiate career.
Coming into the season, St. Brown was viewed as a mid-first round pick, but that no longer seems to be the case. The majority of reports have him as a likely day two candidate, being selected in the second or third round. There have also been rumblings that St. Brown could fall to the fourth round, but this seems highly unlikely, especially for a receiver that features tremendous size and speed. Generally, the NFL falls in love with big, fast receivers during the draft process and they tend to climb draft boards rather than fall down them.
St. Brown has the size and speed to quickly ascend to a feature role in the NFL. He has the prototypical size of a number one receiver, but also has the speed to stretch the field if needed. He also has displayed enough quickness and agility to make players miss in open field, turning short routes into big plays and long touchdowns.
St. Brown’s route running ability was questioned coming out of high school, but he has seemingly focused heavily on that during his collegiate career. He has displayed smooth routes, specifically the ability to find holes in zone coverage. St. Brown also displays smooth double moves, specifically beating Stanford on a beautiful sluggo, but suffered from an underthrown ball that was intercepted. The only route St. Brown seems to struggle with is his verticals, as he often times is pushed too close to the sidelines.
St. Brown’s hands could be the most frustrating part of his game. He’ll often times make spectacular catches, but tends to drop easier catches. In 2016, against Texas, St. Brown identified himself as the hot read before getting vertical up the seam, making an extended catch, taking a hit, and flipping into the end zone. This was an elite play from him, displaying intelligence and a spectacular catch radius. He also has plays were he seems to lack concentration, though, dropping easy catches on short to intermediate routes.
St. Brown also seems to show a lack of effort at times on the field. He can be seen as a willing blocker early in games, but this willingness fades as the game wears on. St. Brown also shows a lack of effort off the line when it is a run play. Essentially, his efforts will immediately let defenses know if the play is a run or pass.
The potential for St. Brown in the NFL is through the roof. If he can begin playing on a consistent basis, which was difficult with his quarterbacks at Notre Dame, St. Brown has the potential to be the best receiver coming out of this draft. I generally do not speak this highly of players, but St. Brown could be one of the biggest steals on draft day if he does indeed go late on day two or early on day three.
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