Profiling 49ers 2018 draft options: Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame

February 27, 2018

Editor's note: This is part of an ongoing series in which Ryan Berry will break down potential prospects the rebuilding 49ers can consider in the 2018 draft.

 

Equanimeous St. Brown - Jr., Notre Dame

Ht/wt: 6-foot-5, 203 lbs.

2017: 33 receptions, 515 receiving yards, 4 TDs 

 

Don’t let the lesser stats fool you, Equanimeous St. Brown is an intriguing top-level big-play wide receiver talent from Notre Dame with great size, speed and smooth route-running ability (specifically in mesh and crossing concepts).

 

His most accomplished collegiate season, his sophomore year, St. Brown led the Irish with 58 receptions for 961 yards and nine TDs (including four of 29 yards or more). His junior year didn’t go as planned with beyond inconsistent quarterback play – although he did show the ability to consistently get open.

 

Both of St. Brown’s brothers are playing Division 1 football (USC and Stanford), while his father was a two-time Mr. Universe. The Anaheim native speaks French, German, and English.

 

Brian Kelly and Notre Dame lined up St. Brown outside and in the slot. As mentioned previously, his quarterbacks missed him routinely. Still, St. Brown had his moments – most notably versus Stanford with five receptions for 111 yards. The 6-foot-5 receiver is staying close to home for his pre-draft training at STARS SoCal in Anaheim, CA where he goes up against one of Eric Crocker’s favorites, Isaiah Oliver.

 

49ers usage: At 6-foot-5, St. Brown is much, much larger than any other productive wide receiver on the 49ers. Right away, he'd complement what they already have in speedster Marquise Goodwin and possession receiver Pierre Garçon. With Jimmy G consistently shredding defenses across the middle (see Week 13 vs. Bears), St. Brown could come in and use his elite long-strider speed and fluidity to make for a nice connection.

 

Games watched: Virginia Tech 2016, Syracuse 2016, Stanford 2017, USC 2017

 

Positives:

 

  • Big-play ability - Absolute elite speed with the ball in his hands on screens and crossing routes, which causes the defenders to take bad angles and ultimately miss.

  • Subtle agility - Shows deftly movements to not get hit by defenders.

 

  • Acceleration in routes - Quick, explosive breaks in his routes (disregard his QB); St. Brown plants hard and accelerates. 

As my chef would say after drinking 2009, Chateau de la Huste Fronsac, “c'est lisse…” this is smooth.

 

  • Physical route running - For a big guy, he is an excellent route runner. 

 

  • Length - St. Brown uses his long arms to create separation, mostly getting away with it when tightly covered.

 

Negatives:

 

  • Production - St. Brown has never caught more than the 58 passes in his sophomore season, including high school. He also only caught more than four passes in a game once in 2017.

 

  • Frame - Could definitely eat some more late-night snacks. While he seems to have good upper-body strength and uses his bench to his advantage, he is too skinny.

 

  • Blocking - St. Brown could become a better run blocker. 

 

  • Drops - Doesn’t consistently hold onto the ball when contacted; get in the sand bucket to train stronger hands.

 

  • Consistent route running - Didn’t see one hitch route create separation and St. Brown often ran a disinterested route.

 

Projected Round: 2nd round. St. Brown should thrive at the NFL Combine, showing off his speed and athleticism. For him to be a true NFL No. 1, he must play better when defenders are close to him, especially on out routes and in traffic — really attack the ball in the air and hold on through contact. St. Brown has good hands overall and is an excellent route runner. His ability to crank up his speed quickly will play nicely at the next level. He was lackadaisical at times, but that might be more the lackluster play-calling this past year at ND. St. Brown creates separation at the top of his routes, but could use better body control on deep balls to keep defenders away from making a play on the ball.

 

Pro Comp: Tyrell Williams, WR, Chargers

 

 

 

 

Media courtesy USA Today Sports Images

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