There was one group of players that benefited immensely from the Green Bay Packers’ choice to not draft a wide receiver in the 2020 NFL Draft: the wide receivers currently on the roster.
While rumors suggest that the Packers wanted to add a wideout, but the board didn’t fall in a complementary way, the front office is clearly comfortable with the talent they have at the position. It’s up to these young players to prove they’re up to the challenge. One such player is Equanimeous St. Brown, often the forgotten man of the group due to spending all of 2019 on injured reserve with a high ankle sprain. EQ has a chance to play a major role in improving the passing game and becoming a reliable target for Aaron Rodgers.
One of the three Day 3 wide retrievers drafted by the team in 2018, St. Brown had a promising rookie season. Initially overshadowed by the speed and early production of Marquez Valdes-Scantling, he received a much higher snap count as the season went on and posted a respectable 58.3% catch rate and 9.1 yards per target.
He appeared to be off to a good start in the 2019 season and earned praise from his quarterback.
“Almost quietly, I think EQ has had a really nice camp. I think he’s been very consistent. We haven’t talked about him a lot, which, in this case, is actually a positive. It’s almost like, ‘Yeah, well, he’s on the squad.’ He’s been that good. It’s almost been an understated, really solid camp for him,” Rodgers said of the young receiver (via PackersWire).
Unfortunately, St. Brown suffered his season-ending injury against the (then) Oakland Raiders in preseason, ending an opportunity to play a role in a passing game that sorely needed role players.
St. Brown has an extremely desirable size profile at 6’5” and 214 lbs, possesses quick speed, and has excellent route running abilities. He is still only 23 years old and has plenty of room for growth. Despite ultimately being a sixth-round pick, EQ has the physical gifts and talents of a much higher drafted player, and most of his draft concerns were about his lack of consistent production at Notre Dame and potential work ethic concerns, both of which were proving irrelevant due to his strong early start in Green Bay.
St. Brown is the best suited wide receiver to play the “big slot” role that could thrive in Matt LaFleur’s offense. The team tried this role with Geronimo Allison in 2019, but EQ has much more upside. The Packers need a big presence in the middle of the field, and EQ can be that guy (along with tight end Jace Sternberger).
Broken record checking in, but there isn’t a clear depth chart beyond Davante Adams and Allen Lazard. Devin Funchess likely gets every opportunity to carve a role, but should St. Brown rehab well and continue off of his promising early 2019, he could be WR3 early on.
If nothing else, Equanimeous Tristan Imhotep J. St. Brown is a prime candidate for a bounceback and can improve a passing game in need of some pizzaz. At best, he could provide the team with a lethal weapon more ready to work within LaFleur’s system than a rookie could. Time will tell, but the opportunity is wide open for the taking.Matt Hendershott is a Packers fan and Miller High Life enthusiast from Northwest Ohio. He has a Master of Arts in Media and Communication from Bowling Green State University. You can follow him on Twitter @MattHendershott.