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Equanimeous St. Brown would be an appealing mid-round wide receiver selection

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NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Miami Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The mid-to-late-round, big-bodied wide receiver selection has been a popular one during John Schneider and Pete Carroll’s time at the helm of the Seattle Seahawks. There has been Kris Durham (round 4, 2011), Chris Harper (round 4, 2013), Kevin Norwood (round 4, 2014), Kenny Lawler (round 7, 2016), Amara Darboh (round 3, 2017) and David Moore (round 7, 2017). Among that group, Durham’s 55 catches for 699 yards pace the group, and only three of those catches (for 30 yards) were with Seattle. In terms of production just with the Seahawks, Norwood edges Durham with nine catches for 102 yards. Obviously Darboh and Moore’s careers in Seattle are just beginning, but the Seahawks have repeatedly failed to find receiver help on the draft’s third day during this era.

With a glaring hole at wide receiver as the draft approaches, it’s fair to expect Seattle to try and again address the position on the draft’s third and final day. I’ve already written about a player who could replace Paul Richardson’s field stretching, but what if they try to take another swing at a bigger receiver? At just under 6-5 (6-4 3/4”) and 214 pounds, former Notre Dame wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown could fit the bill.

Route Running

St. Brown comes off the line of scrimmage well, showing good, quick feet in his release. Despite his size, St. Brown played regularly both in the slot and out wide with the Fighting Irish. Although his long-term projection should be as an outside wide receiver, St. Brown repeatedly displayed the feel for space and comfort in traffic to succeed inside. He finds space underneath really well.

On vertical routes and over the middle of the field, St. Brown sets up his breaks with false steps and creates separation that way. Watch him leave the defensive back flat-footed, only to miss out on a walk-in touchdown due to an under-thrown ball:

Leverage/Body Position

A fair criticism of St. Brown is that he doesn’t always play up to his size. However there are little glimpses of a real punishing style of play at the top of his routes and if his position coach in the NFL can get it out of him consistently, St. Brown will be a real problem for cornerbacks.

On deep routes, St. Brown consistently gets on top of defensive backs and tracks the ball well. If St. Brown is forced to come back and adjust to a throw behind him, however, he’ll struggle to corral it.

Hands

Used on short throws over the middle of the field, as well as tunnel screens, St. Brown displayed a good catch radius on passes out in front of him or into his body. As I previously mentioned, St. Brown does struggle on passes behind him where the defensive back is allowed back into the play. This, combined with not reaching out and plucking the ball with any sort of consistency, suggests he doesn’t necessarily have strong hands.

Quickness/Agility

St. Brown’s agility underneath and quickness after the catch were another reason for the 6-5 receiver finding so much success out of the slot. He’s able to navigate traffic really well and after the catch, St. Brown separates with ease.

Watch St. Brown slow up to allow his blockers to engage before accelerating with terrific fluidity. It looks so easy:

Body Control

St. Brown’s body type actually reminds me of David Moore. Although he has an outstandingly large frame for the position, St. Brown is an easy mover in the open field, like Moore, gliding across the field after the catch. The ability to dip his hips and change direction moving downfield comes so easy to him:

On comebacks, hitches and curls, St. Brown snaps his body around tremendously well. There are rightfully criticisms over his ability coming in and out of breaks, but the flashes of physicality at the top of routes, combined with the fluidity coming back to the ball are encouraging.

Overall, St. Brown is an extremely intriguing wide receiver prospect who didn’t show enough of a complete game in college to be in the conversation among the 2018 NFL Draft’s top wide receivers. However, he has exceptional size and movement skills for the position and has displayed flashes of being a dominant starting outside receiver. As a developmental prospect late on day two or early on day three, St. Brown is well worth the selection.