Amon-St. Brown had an impressive rookie season, but could he have another level in him this year?
When it was all said and done last year, Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown had an pretty impressive rookie season (90 receptions for 912 yards and five touchdowns). He set franchise rookie records, and tied an NFL rookie record previously solely owned by Odell Beckham Jr. for consecutive games with a least eight receptions (four).
But St. Brown got off to a slow start last year. Through his first 11 games, he had 39 catches for 352 scoreless yards. Over his final six games, he had 51 receptions for 560 yards and five scores. In December, only Cooper Kupp had more receptions and three receivers had more yards than St. Brown. Over that six-game stretch, he added 61 rushing yards with a touchdown and a two-point conversion on the ground.
With the additions of DJ Chark and Jameson Williams to the Lions’ wide receiver corps, it’s easy to set St. Brown aside a bit. Regression from the fine closing stretch to his rookie season is the expectation this year, with T.J. Hockenson and D’Andre Swift healthy.
But via Benjamin Raven of MLive, wide receivers coach Antwaan-Randle El is not having any of the talk that St. Brown is any sort of forgotten man.
"Nah, not internally. We brought DJ in, we brought Jameson, but Saint’s the guy,” t “That’s the dude, in terms of he gets it, continues to get it, and it’s good to see. Second year, the same focus — even greater focus. ‘Coach, teach me this.’”"
Randle El added he thinks St. Brown could be even better statistically in Year 2.
Could Amon-Ra St. Brown put up huge numbers in 2022?
It’s clear St. Brown’s target share over the final six games of 2021 is not sustainable if most everyone else is healthy. But the Lions had one of the worst third-down conversion rates in the league last year too (34.7 percent, second-worst). The defense was also bad at getting off the field, allowing third-down conversions 45.1 percent of the time (29th in the league). Both rates should be better this year.
So if the Lions sustain offense better and have more opportunities turned back to them by the defense, and ideally (naturally?) score more, that’s good for everyone.
If you were to predict who will lead the Lions in targets in 2022, St. Brown is a no-brainer candidate. If anything, there’s room to unveil him as a downfield threat. He averaged 8.36 yards per target over those final six games last year, and that was boosted by averaging over 10 yards per target in each of the final two.
Over a full season with more consistent production, within a better Lions’ offense and a year of experience under his belt, 100 catches could be in play for St. Brown in his second season. That’s an average of less than six catches a game over 17 games.