Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown enters his rookie NFL campaign with an opportunity to make an impact right away.
Detroit's receivers room was depleted this offseason by the departures of Kenny Golladay (N.Y. Giants), Marvin Jones Jr. (Jacksonville Jaguars) and Jamal Agnew (Jaguars) in free agency.
Subsequently, St. Brown will have a chance to have a meaningful role in the Lions' offense come Week 1 of the regular season. The USC product will primarily compete for reps at receiver in 2021 with offseason acquisitions Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman, as well as 2020 Lions fifth-round pick Quintez Cephus.
First-year Detroit head man Dan Campbell offered a positive review of St. Brown during Organized Team Activities.
"I know you guys are getting tired of hearing this, but we’re only three days into it. But, look -- good. Good. Man, he’s all business. For a rookie, he’s all business, and you can tell he’s very focused. He’s very detail-oriented for a rookie," Campbell told reporters. "He listens to what (Antwaan Randle) El is telling him. I feel like he knows the playbook pretty good to this point, and there’s just things about him. And, you see it, and you’re like, ‘OK, there again, he’s a football player.’ He definitely has taken this serious, and we know he’s got some ability. I would tell you he’s growing, he really is. And, not just growing in the receiver room. There’s things he’s doing in Dave Fipp’s area of the field -- the special teams -- that you’re like, ‘OK, this is pretty good.’ I think he’s right on track. Just keep growing and small steps every day. But, it’s been good. It’s been a good week for him.”
St. Brown, a fourth-round pick of the Lions this year (No. 112 overall), produced 178 receptions for 2,270 yards and 16 touchdowns in three years at USC.
Campbell further expressed during OTAs how impressed he is with St. Brown's mindset as a rookie.
"I hate to call it rare, but I don’t think you see a lot of it. A lot of it -- it’s not anybody else’s fault. Sometimes, they just don’t know. They don’t know. They don’t even know what it takes. They don’t know what it’s supposed to look like," Campbell said. "But, this kid, you can tell, some people have shaped him the right way and have taught him these things. And, he’s taken it to heart because he does, his approach is just a little bit different. There’s a little bit more of an edge and seriousness about him, and look, I kind of like that.”
Meanwhile, former undrafted free agent Victor Bolden is similarly trying to make his presence known at the receiver position.
The 26-year-old joined the Lions in late 2019 as a practice squad player, and most recently, was signed to a reserve/future contract by the team.
He has complied just one reception (for 10 yards) since entering the league in 2017 out of Oregon State. It came in 2018 when he was a member of the San Francisco 49ers.
Much like St. Brown, Campbell has been impressed so far with Bolden's attention to detail.
Recommended Lions Articles
One Play Highlights Vast Difference Between Jared Goff and Matthew Stafford
The Detroit Lions will have to adapt to quarterback Jared Goff and what specific skills he brings to the team.
Aaron Glenn Points Out Linebacker Who Has Stood Out at Training Camp
Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn explains why this linebacker on the roster has impressed him.
Inside Allen Park: Lions Rookie's Fight During First Padded Practice
Detroit Lions rookies Amon-Ra St. Brown and Ifeatu Melifonwu get heated during the first padded practice at Detroit Lions training camp.
"As I said yesterday, it’s his ability to separate. And, even some of the little things -- not only just separation, but you can see him -- he’s another guy that’s taken to coaching," Campbell said during minicamp. "Shoot, we had one-on-ones yesterday, and one of the routes he ran, just the way that he worked the leverage of the defender but was also patient to get his depth and then come out of the route, quarterback friendly. Not only was it a really sharp route, to have the explosiveness he has, but also to have the wherewithal to set the route up like he did, the patience enough to get the depth. It’s like a quarterback’s dream, because you know exactly where the guy’s going to be, how he’s going to run the route."
Detroit offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn views Bolden, St. Brown and the rest of the organization's receivers group as a competitive bunch.
"I think we definitely have a lot of hungry young men in that group because they see opportunity," Lynn commented during minicamp. "There's really no established guy that's in that room."
Lynn has the most prior experience with Williams, whom Lynn coached with the Los Angeles Chargers from 2017-18.
"I've had Tyrell Williams in the past, so I'm very familiar with him and what he can do. He was hurt last season, but he's back healthy. He's looking really good," Lynn said. "Breshad Perriman is looking really good. I like the competition that's going on in that group right now. We have some pretty good pieces."
More from SI All Lions: