Amon-Ra St. Brown has accomplished a ton in his first two NFL seasons, but he sees a notable hole in his resume and he wants to fill it.
Through two NFL seasons, Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown is in select company. He is one of three players in league history to have 90-plus receptions in each of his first two seasons (Michael Thomas and Odell Beckham Jr. are the others). He has tied Thomas and Justin Jefferson for the most receptions through two seasons in NFL history (196).
Oh, and with 106 receptions this season he became the fourth different receiver in Lions history to have a 100-catch season. Herman Moore did it three times, with one 100-plus catch season apiece for Calvin Johnson and Brett Perriman in franchise history.
St. Brown can famously name all 16 wide receivers taken before him in the 2021 draft, many of whom he has dramatically outproduced over the last two seasons.
But St. Brown will seemingly always find fresh frontiers for motivation, and he has found one as he looks toward his third season in 2023.
Amon-Ra St. Brown wants to fill hole in his otherwise pristine early-career resume
Justin Rogers of The Detroit News recently spoke with St. Brown. Rogers apparently asked if there was an area St. Brown felt like he could get better in.
"It’s funny you ask that; it’s definitely something I wish I did more,” St. Brown said. “I don’t really get the ball thrown to me too much down the field. So, I’m not getting some of these opportunities some of the other players are getting. That’s something I want to get more opportunities to do going forward, having the ball thrown down the field, and not just catching it after 5 yards and making guys miss. I want to catch it 25, 30 yards down the field. You watch my tape this year, I really haven’t had any of those. I haven’t had anything over the shoulder, really.”"
Being heavily used in the slot and lacking the ideal size to be an ideal contested catch guy downfield yielded just what St. Brown cited.
"That’s something, moving forward, I want to do more of, and I think I will get to do more of that,” he said. “That’s something I want to do, personally. Yeah, I want to do all the third-down stuff and all that, but I want to catch balls down the field, too. I want to do that stuff and I know I can. I’ve done it in college, done it my whole life, and I know I can do it at this level.”"
As Rogers noted, only 13 of St. Brown’s 146 targets this season traveled 15-plus yards downfield (8.9 percent)–and none went 25 yards. On the flipside, 101 of his targets (69.2 percent) came within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage.
Per Pro Football Focus (via Rogers), St. Brown’s nine 20-plus yard downfield targets ranked 74th. So it’s natural his yards per catch average (11.0) came in 21st out of 22 receivers who had at least 1,000 yards.
St. Brown wants to be (and knows he can be) a complete wide receiver, able to get opportunities and win them all over the field. Now that Ben Johnson is staying on as Lions offensive coordinator, you can bet he’s going to be scheming up ways to fully unleash the “Sun God” as a downfield threat next season.