The Green Bay Packers need to draft a receiver in the 2018 NFL Draft, and they should do it within the first two days (the fourth round at latest).
One target who may be particularly appealing is Notre Dame’s Equanimeous St. Brown.
Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb seem likely to play out their contracts in 2018, but it would be surprising if they both returned in 2019. It is time for the Packers to begin grooming another young starter to star alongside Davante Adams.
St. Brown is a bigger receiver than the Packers have had as a starter in some time, standing 6-foot-4 and 214 pounds. He pairs that with excellent speed, as he ran a 4.48 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. Though not blazing compared with some other prospects, that’s a faster time than both Nelson and Adams.
And that speed shows up in games. He’s not a prototypical “burner,” but the Packers have not been interested in that type of receiver recently, anyway. St. Brown was Notre Dame’s top deep threat for the past two seasons, getting open deep even against top competition.
Here’s St. Brown’s MockDraftable spider chart, which shows his excellent size and speed. He unfortunately did not participate in a number of drills that help gauge explosiveness/quickness, including the 60-yard shuttle, 20-yard shuttle, three-cone drill, broad jump and vertical jump.
St. Brown’s stats dipped a bit in his senior season, though that was due mostly to the passing deficiencies of Irish quarterback Brandon Wimbush. When paired with DeShone Kizer in his sophomore year, St. Brown put up 58 catches and 961 yards for an average of 16.6 yards per catch, to go along with nine touchdowns.
St. Brown’s most obviously appealing trait is his catch radius, which would make him an immediate red zone threat. But he’s also plenty fast enough to create separation downfield, and he frequently displayed run-after-the-catch ability in college.
Where can St. Brown improve? The same areas that most rookie receivers can: route running and beating press coverage. Additionally, he’s not the James Jones-like contested catch artist yet that, with his size, he has the potential to be.
But that’s the beauty of drafting a receiver the year before he’s needed. St. Brown could be called upon as an occasional deep threat and red zone target in his rookie season before blossoming as a starter in 2019.
Another deficiency is that St. Brown has precious little experience as a returner. Trevor Davis had a tumultuous 2017 and is not guaranteed a spot on the 2018 roster. The team would undoubtedly like to draft some competition for him.
The Packers have plenty of holes, especially on defense. But after last year’s calamity sans Aaron Rodgers, Brian Gutekunst would be foolish to ignore the offense at the top of the draft. If the board falls right, the Packers could make St. Brown Rodgers’ newest weapon.