Driven somewhat by analytics, a potential first round wide receiver has drawn a comparison to Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown.
It’s obviously revisionist history. But if we did a re-draft of the 2021 NFL Draft, Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown might be a first-round pick. He certainly wouldn’t be outside the top 40 or 50 picks, let alone pick No. 112 in the fourth round like he actually was.
Beyond his talent, St. Brown clearly has a chip on his shoulder from being passed on like he was in his draft. That’s the kind of thing that can’t be predicted, or measured outwardly. NFL teams will be trying to find players cut from a similar cloth in this year’s draft, no matter the round.
Cynthia Frelund of NFL Media finished her pre-draft series finding pro comps and analytical team matches for some of the top wide receivers in this year’s class. The five wide receivers in the exercise are Jaxson Smith-Njigba, Jordan Addison, Zay Flowers, Quentin Johnston and Jalin Hyatt.
The Lions were not deemed a team match for any of them, but Frelund did have St. Brown as a comp for one.
Potential first round wide receiver draws comp to Amon-Ra St. Brown
Jordan Addison won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top wide receiver in 2021, where he was Kenny Pickett’s No. 1 target at Pitt. He transferred to USC last year and his numbers dropped, but he is still a potential first-round pick.
Frelund made her case for St. Brown as a pro comparison for Addison.
"PRO COMPARISON: Amon-Ra St. BrownAccording to computer vision, Addison has the third-fastest burst (speed achieved in the first 3 yards traveled) of any receiver in this draft class when untouched off the line of scrimmage. As the 2021 Biletnikoff Award winner at Pitt, he tied for the most touchdowns in the FBS (17) and logged the fourth-most explosive receptions (40, per PFF). His volume and overall production decreased after transferring to USC for last season, but PFF still charted him with the highest figure in yards per route run (2.78) in the Pac-12. Addison’s versatility, smooth route-running, yards-after-catch skills and ability to work in space are reminiscent of another former Trojan, Amon-Ra St. Brown. Marvin Jones Jr. is an additional solid comp."
Frelund, perhaps owing to her Lions’ fan roots, tacked on former and now-current Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones as another comp for Addison. Lance Zierlein of NFL.com has Tyler Lockett as his comp for Addison.
The Lions probably aren’t going to end up drafting Addison. But the team who does draft him will be hoping a comp to St. Brown starts at his skill set, and extends to how he’s wired as a competitor.