2021 NFL draft prospects: USC WR Amon-Ra St. Brown

Eric Edholm
·3 min read
Eric Edholm's criteria for grading NFL draft prospects. (Albert Corona/Yahoo Sports)
Eric Edholm's criteria for grading NFL draft prospects. (Albert Corona/Yahoo Sports)

USC WR Amon-Ra St. Brown

6-foot-1, 195 pounds

Yahoo Sports draft grade: 5.75 — potential starter

TL;DR scouting report: Fluid route runner with outstanding body control who could be a fixture as an NFL slot receiver

Games watched: UCLA (2019), Iowa (2019), Arizona State (2020), Washington State (2020), UCLA (2020)

The skinny: A 5-star Rivals prospect (No. 3 nationally), St. Brown had his pick of the litter when it came to a school choice. He landed at USC and was an instant contributor, catching a game-winning TD in his first college contest and finishing his freshman year with a team-high 60 grabs for 750 yards and three TDs in 11 games. As a sophomore in 2019, St. Brown caught 77 passes for 1,042 yards and six scores, adding seven rushes for 60 yards and a TD in 13 contests. In his junior season, he caught 41 passes for 478 yards and seven scores (all in his final three games). St. Brown declared for the 2021 NFL draft as an underclassman.

Upside: Extremely natural route runner — fluid, smooth and confident. Makes sharp cuts look easy and sells routes extremely well. Sudden and light feet to keep balance throughout the route and explodes out of breaks to gain separation. Quickness to make the first man miss more often than not.

Consistently productive — five-plus catches in 16 of his final 17 college games and only three career games with fewer than three catches. Terrific body control and timing at the catch point. Great feet along the sideline and can haul in the off-target throws.

Underrated competitiveness and toughness. Comes back for the football and works fearlessly over the middle, where safeties lurk. Will break and slip through tackles. Gives requisite effort as a blocker.

Very intelligent and focused. Prepares like a pro. Technique is polished.

Downside: Drops are too frequent — makes the tough grab and then coughs up the easier ball. Will start running without the ball secured at times. Had fumble issues earlier in his career — three as a freshman (but zero in the following two years).

Could struggle to release from press coverage and might be best at home in the slot predominantly. Not quite as effective on the outside as he was inside.

Lacks deep speed to consistently take the tops off of defenses and elite explosiveness — not a lot of tape of him separating downfield. Lean build and limited length. Might not fare as well against physical, longer-armed corners.

Competes hard but doesn’t win with physicality. Could stand to add some more body armor to lean frame. Blocking effort is fine, but effectiveness is middling at best.

Has some return ability but limited production — had only one punt return longer than 11 yards. Only returned two kickoffs and might not possess much other special-teams value (maybe as a vice, which he did briefly as a freshman). Might never be a true No. 1 receiver.

Best-suited destination: St. Brown would be an outstanding third option and a good WR2, lining up predominantly in the slot and occasionally being used on returns and end-arounds.

Did you know: St. Brown is fluent in three languages — English, German and French. He is the son of John Brown, a bodybuilder who was a two-time Mr. Universe (1981 and 1982) and three-time Mr. World; and the brother of Packers 2018 sixth-rounder Equanimeous St. Brown and Stanford receiver Osiris St. Brown.

Player comp: A Tyler Boyd clone, and style-wise, there are even some shades of Chris Godwin to his game. But we just don’t think he’ll ever reach that level in the NFL.

Expected draft range: Rounds 2 or 3