2021 NFL Draft Rookie Profile: Amon-Ra St. Brown (Fantasy Football)
With free agency now in the rearview mirror, it’s time to fully shift our focus onto the NFL draft. And with several top tier receivers available in this year’s class, a productive player who has gone slightly under the radar is USC receiver: Amon-Ra St. Brown. Coming from a family of athletes (Equanimeous St. Brown is currently with the Packers), Amon-Ra has the potential to be the best and most impactful of the three St. Brown brothers. USC has also produced a handful of productive receivers over the last decade, with Robert Woods and Juju Smith-Schuster headlining that group. Amon-Ra could certainly join that list, as he is currently projected to be a mid-day two pick. Let’s dive into his production profile and film to assess his potential at the next level!
Editors Note: This article is part of our Rookie Profile series going on until the 2021 NFL Draft. For more on each rookie, check out Andy, Mike, and Jason’s exclusive rookie rankings and production profiles found only in the Dynasty Pass, part of the brand-new UDK+ for 2021.
College Production Profile
Per 247 Sports, Amon-Ra St. Brown was a 5-star recruit who received plenty of interest from teams such as LSU, Alabama, and Ohio State. He would forgo those offers and commit to USC, where he was an immediate contributor for their offense. As a true freshman, Amon-Ra would lead the Trojans in receptions and finish second on the team in receiving yards, behind only Michael Pittman Jr. And while 750 yards may not seem impressive at face value, it equated to a 27% receiving yards market share in that USC offense. This led to an early breakout age of 18.9, ranking him in the 93rd percentile behind only Rashod Bateman and Rondale Moore in this 2021 class.
In 2019, Amon-Ra would continue to play behind Pittman Jr. but would eclipse the century mark for the first time in his collegiate career. Despite the higher yardage total, his 2019 season would actually be his worst year from a dominator rating standpoint. He accounted for 20% of the team’s receiving production, which would be a slight decline from his freshman year (22%). In 2020, St. Brown took it up a notch, finally becoming the WR1 for this offense. He led all USC receivers with a 33% dominator rating while accounting for 41% of their receiving touchdowns. And in a shortened season, he would also lead the Pac-12 in receptions and finish 3rd in total touchdowns, culminating in an All-Pac-12 first-team selection.
In total, St. Brown’s production profile is especially intriguing because he never fell below a 20% dominator rating in his three years at USC. He was consistently productive even as a freshman. The downside is that his best season was nowhere close to the peak seasons of some of the top-tier receivers. Therefore, the lack of true dominance relative to this class is a slight concern, though he should still profile as a versatile weapon at the next level.
*Pro Day Results
If you take a look at Amon-Ra St. Brown’s athletic profile, the first number that might stand out is his 40-yard time. While it is much improved from his high school score, it only equates to a height/weight-adjusted speed score of 88.7, ranking him in the 31st percentile among all wide receivers. Two players who scored similarly are Anquan Boldin and Mohamed Sanu. What stands out in his film, however, is his 38.5 inch vertical. Even with his 197 lb frame, Amon-Ra frequently used his leaping ability to make some tough catches throughout his college career. Furthermore, his lighter frame did not deter him from seeking contact and gaining tough yards after the catch. So while his speed is a slight concern, his overall athletic profile should still allow him to be an effective receiver in the NFL.
What’s on Tape
If you followed along with my weekly Dynasty Report, you might already be familiar with my film-evaluation process. In short, I try to watch 4 to 6 games, analyzing every snap for that player in each of those games. Let’s dive into Amon-Ra St. Brown’s tape!
Games Viewed: Washington St. (2020), Arizona St. (2020), Utah (2020), UCLA (2019), Notre Dame (2019)
1. St. Brown has outstanding ball-tracking ability and body control
We already outlined above that speed is not Amon-Ra’s strong suit. However, his excellent ball-tracking is what sets him apart in the deep game. Despite tight coverage, Amon-Ra would frequently make an aggressive pursuit for the reception. He also showcased great awareness, often adjusting to passes that were thrown slightly off target. Coupled with his 38 inch vertical, his ball-tracking and body control also translated into success in the red zone. USC QB Kedon Slovis would simply throw it up in his vicinity and allow Amon-Ra to make a play in the end zone. And while he is not the biggest receiver at only 197 lbs, St. Brown often utilized his longer frame and height, fighting through contact for several impressive receptions.
2. Amon-Ra is a threat after the catch, frequently using his physicality and elusiveness to create yards
Amon-Ra was used in a variety of ways in the USC offense. From jet sweeps to WR screens, even on intermediate and deep routes, one thing was fairly evident: good things happen when the ball is in his hands. Part of this is due to his fearless mindset, rarely shying from contact after the catch. And on short passes, Amon-Ra frequently found ways to create yards on his own. He displayed excellent vision and speed variation, often making defenders miss with his shiftiness in the open field. And while not every YAC opportunity resulted in significant plays, it was extremely impressive to see Amon-Ra fight for extra yards on nearly every opportunity.
3. St. Brown displayed strength and toughness in the blocking game
This might be one of the more underrated aspects of St. Brown’s game. As I already mentioned above, he is not afraid to initiate contact, especially when blocking for his teammates. He was outstanding at squaring up to DBs, staying nimble on his feet to remain in front of defenders, and creating running lanes for his team. What impressed me the most is how consistently aggressive he was even if the play was not on his side of the field. He never shied away from the physicality, at times even plowing over defenders or driving them into the sidelines. And yes, blocking does not add up to fantasy points, but it could lead to consistent playing time at the next level.
What’s Not on Tape
1. St. Brown struggled to create consistent separation against faster DBs downfield
While St. Brown displayed excellent route running and quickness in his film, he does not possess elite top-end speed and acceleration. As a result, he struggled to shake off quicker and more athletic defensive backs. This was primarily evident on go and fly routes, where defenders were generally right at his hip in man coverage. Regardless, that did not necessarily prevent Amon-Ra from making plays downfield, especially with his contested catch ability. So while he likely does not profile as a speedster or field stretcher at the next level, Amon-Ra should still find success in other ways.
2. There were a handful of dropped passes in Amon-Ra’s tape
While this is likely a correctable issue, I counted four dropped balls in the five games that I reviewed. What was slightly concerning was that most of the dropped passes were on short and intermediate routes, with decent separation, and with the ball hitting him directly in his hands. Ironically, a few plays later, he would often make a spectacular catch with the defender draped all over him. Regardless, Amon-Ra will need to clean up this part of his game as it could limit his playing time in his rookie year if the issue persists.
2021 Fantasy Outlook
Besides having the best name in this WR class, Amon-Ra St. Brown is a fundamentally sound player who had a productive 3-year career at USC. He has the versatility to play out wide and in the slot, which will allow him to be used in a variety of ways at the next level. Interestingly, in CBS Sports’ most recent seven-round mock draft, Amon-Ra went off the board at 60th overall to New Orleans. If he does receive that kind of draft capital, he could provide immediate value for dynasty managers. And with this receiving class being extremely deep (at WR and, to some extent, TE), Amon-Ra will likely be drafted in the late second round in most 1-QB dynasty rookie drafts. In a Super-Flex league, he could be a tremendous value as he could slip into the early third round. Keep an eye on his landing spot and draft capital as that will heavily influence his dynasty outlook and ADP.