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Equanimeous St. Brown is a Forgotten First Round Talent Heading into 2018 NFL Draft

At 6-foot-5, 203 pounds, Equanimeous “E.Q.” St. Brown, formerly a wide receiver for the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, runs a 4.44, 40 yard dash. He’s unnaturally quick and fast for his size which is reminiscent of a another tall, lanky receiver, Randy Moss. He is also highly intelligent as he carried a 4.0 grade point average, speaks four different languages, and can run routes and read a defense with the best of them.

As a sophomore, playing with quarterback DeShone Kizer, St. Brown started all 12 games and hauled in 58 catches for 961 yards and 9 touchdowns. He definitely showed the makings of a legitimate deep threat with 26 catches at 10+ yards, and 7 at 20+ yards. General consensus seems to be that his numbers would have been even greater had he been playing with a passer more suited to throw the deep ball. St. Brown only had three drops in the 10+ range but was still only able to haul in 59% of his targets. That would seem to indicate that the majority of those passes were not well thrown. Even so, he was named Notre Dame Offensive Player of the Year in 2016.


Two things really stuck out to me as I was watching his game tape. He’s not rattled by having a man in his face on deep balls or any type of pass for that matter. He knows exactly where the sideline is, almost always has control of his feet, seems to be able to pluck the ball from anywhere in the air above him, and catches the rock with his hands not his body, whenever possible. Also, he is extremely dangerous on crossing routes, especially when the defense is in zone coverage. Linebackers and strong safeties aren’t quick enough to cover him, so once he hits the edge, there is often a ton of real estate ahead of of the speedster and few defenders in the area who are quick enough to catch him.

Because of his tall lanky frame and speed most scouts are going to categorize St. Brown as a deep threat, he definitely is that, but he is also so much more than that. His route running ability makes him a major threat as a possession receiver on quick outs and hitches. He has great field awareness, soft hands and quick feet to go along with the aforementioned traits. In the end zone, he is equally effective on corner routes and in the middle of the field, however, it is difficult to say exactly how much more effective he could be in the proper system or with the right quarterback throwing him the ball. The Irish seem to have treated him more like a small receiver, throwing balls at his chest instead of lobs that force him to utilize his size and athleticism and that are placed in a spot that only he can catch them.

The major knocks on him that I’ve heard so far are that he is too thin for his height, drops too many passes and disappears against NFL caliber defenders. First off, all of those things can be affected by the way the ball is thrown to him. If you get him separation, those issues can actually become strengths for a player of his caliber. Also, it’s easy to confuse thin with weak, but remember, his father is a former Mr. Universe. E.Q. might look frail but he is solid muscle and shows it on a regular basis against would be tacklers. The dropped passes seem to be in direct correlation to the talent of the person throwing him the ball and should be less of an issue depending on who his quarterback is in the NFL. Finally, playing against a pro-caliber defender in college is completely different than playing against that same athlete in the NFL because the talent is more dispersed and opposing players and coaches can’t be as selective about who they scheme against on the other side of the ball.

“Calm emotions when dealing with problems or pressure.”

As far as St. Brown’s stat decline as a junior in 2017, his quarterback, Kizer left for the NFL last season and that caused Norte Dame to adapt to a more run friendly offense which limited St. Brown’s targets. His numbers suffered greatly under a less affective quarterback but his ability to make great plays remained the same. In 2017, he hauled in 31 receptions, for 468 yards, and 4 touchdowns. He started the Navy game and left in the first quarter with a head injury, but was able to return for the Stanford game and put up his best numbers of the year with 5 catches, 111 yards and 1 touchdown. For those concerned about his drop off in stats, it would seem that it has more to do with the change in scheme and personnel of the team he was on, rather an inadequacy with the player himself.

St. Brown comes from great stock. His father John Brown is a two time Mr. Universe and has been compared to LaVar Ball becomes of his passion for his three sons, but he is definitely not that selfish . He gave all of his boys unique names because he wanted them to be remembered. The name Equanimeous, comes from the word equanimity, which means, “calm emotions when dealing with problems or pressure.” His younger brothers (both named for Egyptian Deities) are also receivers; Osiris just finished his freshman year at Stanford, and Amon-Ra was the top wide receiver recruit in the country, and just declared to USC.

I personally believe that St. Brown can be an even better NFL player than he was a college player. It may take him some time to adjust to the league, but once he does, it would seem there is no limit at the pro level for a guy with his skill level, football I.Q. and passion for the game. I see him as a top three receiver in this draft class, and a late-first to mid-second round selection in the 2018 draft. It would benefit him to be on an offense with already established receivers but I also believe he could be a franchise changer on the right team. He has experience at the X,Y, and Z positions and with his quickness and agility could be a matchup nightmare coming out of the slot position in the proper offense. Imagine what Bill Bellichick could do with a player who has the body of Randy Moss and the flexibility of Wes Welker. It would definitely be fun to watch unless you are the opposing team’s defensive coordinator.

“E.Q.” St. Brown should be an exciting addition where ever he ends up at the next level. His stock will most likely climb after people observe a 6-foot-5 receiver put on an impressive display of speed, athleticism and strength at the pro combine, but even so, I believe he will fall much further than he should if NFL GM’s and draft experts continue to sleep on him because of last season’s statistical decline. This should cause him to be a tremendous steal for the team who decides to take a gamble on him. I not only see Equanimeous St. Brown as a regular starter in this league, but barring injury, I believe he is a lock to be a star, and has the potential to eventually be a megastar in the NFL.

 

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