Detroit Lions: Can Amon-Ra St. Brown produce in year one?

The Detroit Lions land Amon-Ra St. Brown in the 2021 draft. (Photo by Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
The Detroit Lions land Amon-Ra St. Brown in the 2021 draft. (Photo by Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Detroit Lions have gone into full rebuild mode after trading away quarterback Matthew Stafford this past offseason. Their 2021 NFL Draft featured a big commitment to the trenches, selecting Penei Sewell in the first round and a pair of defensive tackles on day two. It wasn’t unlike 2020, where they selected two guards to stabilize the offensive line.

The real question surrounding this team in 2021 is the wide receiver position. Right now, Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman are the starters on the outside, with second-year contributor Quintez Cephus listed in the slot. This group isn’t much to inspire confidence in the passing game.

The Lions did add some help through the draft. While they signed Sage Surratt and Johnathan Adams Jr. as UDFAs, they also selected USC wideout Amon-Ra St. Brown in the fourth round. While that isn’t a lot of capital, it doesn’t mean there won’t be any impact.

In fact, it’s certainly possible that St. Brown produces in year one for the Detroit Lions.

St. Brown’s skill set is one that can translate to nearly any offense, especially if his best projection is in the slot. He has a good route tree and crisp movement in his transitions through his break. St. Brown can make defenders miss after the catch and has the versatility to get some schemed touches. Despite his size, St. Brown makes plays at the catch point and is a threat in the red zone with his good body control.

All of this brings about the fact that St. Brown should be able to contribute in this Lions’ offense as an underneath/intermediate separator who has the ability to create after the catch. He won’t be a deep threat necessarily, but he brings red zone value as well. His jack-of-all-trades skill set is valuable here despite it not getting as much attention in the 2021 NFL Draft.

This isn’t to say that while starting spots could be up for grabs, St. Brown is going to light the league on fire for the Detroit Lions in his rookie campaign. But, Jared Goff will look to find security blankets in the offense, and there’s no reason that St. Brown can’t act as a “Robert Woods type” in Detroit for him. Williams and Perriman are truer deep threats, and it’s going to be between him and Cephus for that underneath/slot role.

The opportunity is there for St. Brown, and he could take advantage in an offense just waiting for an impact player at wide receiver.