Why the Slide?: Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC

This series was created a number of years ago in response to questions about why certain well-known prospects went unselected in NFL drafts. For these articles, I reach out to sources with NFL teams to find out why their organizations passed on drafting a given player, and/or, what were the reasons for other teams to pass on that prospect. The positive response to “Why Undrafted” and questions from readers about why prospects were drafted lower than the media expectations led us to create the parallel series “Why the Slide?”

Both series are back this year. Feel free to email me requests for Why the Slide? and Why Undrafted? at [email protected]. I can’t promise to get to all of them, but I will do my best and definitely will respond to the email.

St. Brown spent the last two season as one of the most dangerous receivers in the Pac-12 and a valuable weapon for USC quarterback Kedon Slovis. In 2019, St. Brown notched 77 receptions for 1,042 yards and six touchdowns while also contributing on special teams. He then caught 41 passes for 478 yards and seven touchdowns across USC’s six-game 2020 season. St. Brown entered the 2021 NFL Draft, and there were many projections of him being a second- or third-round pick. Surprisingly, St. Brown slid to Day 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Team sources said there wasn’t a real reason for St. Brown to fall out of Day 2; rather he just slipped through the cracks. The wide receiver position was very deep in the 2021 NFL Draft, so a number of players with second-day potential ended up falling to Day 3. St. Brown was simply one of those players.

The Detroit Lions ended St. Brown’s slide early in the fourth round, and they were a great landing spot for him. Detroit needs some long-term receivers to emerge, and St. Brown should contribute immediately for the Lions. He should at very least be the fourth receiver and might be an instant starter as the third receiver to go with Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman. St. Brown and Quintez Cephus could compete for the third receiver job, but either or both could end up starting over Williams or Perriman at some point during the 2021 season. The Lions will definitely add more receivers in the years to come, but St. Brown was fortunate to land in a great landing spot where he could seize a starting job and set himself up to have a good NFL career.

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