Equanimeous St. Brown's 2018: Route-Running

Dusty goes back to 2018 and breaks down how Equanimeous St. Brown performed as a route-runner

Hello! It has been a minute, man, but I'm back and getting ready for the season. It has been a bizarre offseason, and, while I've been doing stuff here-and-there, I've been at a bit of a loss of what to write about. But I have had one thought kicking around in the back of my head since the draft: what exactly do the Packers have in Equanimeous St. Brown?

St. Brown - who we will be referring to as "EQ" going forward - posted a RAS (Relative Athletic Score) of 9.84, just a tick above Courtland Sutton's 9.82. For those unfamiliar, RAS was a metric developed by Kent Lee Platte and it attempted to take all the measurements for a player and churn out a single number to let you know where they scored - on a scale of 1-10 - relative to the position they play. 

He rates out well in the 40 yard dash, but he really shines in his 20 and 10 yard splits. You can interpret that to show that, while he may not be a burner, he has tremendous short-area quickness and explosiveness off the line.

So what do the Packers have in EQ? He was a 6th round pick in 2018. In his rookie season, he appeared in 12 games and caught 21 passes for 328 yards and 0 TDs. Not amazing numbers by any stretch of the imagination. To make things worse, he was on IR the entire 2019 season after suffering a high ankle sprain on an 80 yard field in Canada in the preason.

Still, a number of fans - myself included - have pointed to EQ as one of the reasons the Packers may not have felt the need to draft a WR this year.

The numbers aren't going to blow anyone away, but what did he look like while he was on the field? That's what I was curious about, so I figured I would take a look and see what shook out. I ended up watching all 358 of EQ's snaps in 2018 and picking out plays that showed a little of who he was and what he could do. Over the next 3 weeks, we're going to be looking at EQ's 2018 season and breaking down his game. We will be looking at 4 major categories:

Route-Running
Run-blocking
Speed
Coverage recognition

Today, we start with route-running. You ready? I'm ready.


We've got EQ on the right, running a vertical route out of a condensed look. Really nice step at the line to get a clean inside release. Winning at the line gives him immediate separation, and he never gives it up. The deep safety is occupied with the action on the right, so the late move to the post gives him all the separation he needs. Great release, great cut at the top of the route.

EQ has a really nice pivot route here. He is able to fight under the contact at the line, then cut back and separate to the inside. Just tremendous work all the way around.

Here's another nice pivot route from EQ. Cuts hard inside, then comes back out of the cut to the outside. His cut on the pivot is enough to create separation, while still allowing for the spacing needed to follow the flat route from Jimmy Graham.

We're going to see a lot of this kind of thing from EQ. He starts this play in the slot. He pushes hard at his defender, selling the downfield route. The defender turns to run and EQ sticks his foot in the dirt and cuts to the sideline. He uses his speed to open up the out.

Here's another one along those same lines. It's easy to watch this and just marvel at the throw to Davante Adams, but we're focusing on EQ here. He starts off angling across the field, then pushes directly at his defender. It's enough to get the defender to turn around, then EQ cuts across the field. It's not a violent cut on the route, but it doesn't need to be: his route to push at the defender combined with his speed really opened this up for him.

Again, he starts angling out, but turns to push directly at his defender. The defender turns, EQ cuts and Rodgers hits him. It would be nice if the cut at the top of the route was a bit more sudden. He uses quite a few steps on the break, which allows his defender a chance to recover. Still, even with that, he does enough to create space and gives Rodgers a nice target to hit. 

He also doesn't allow the ball to travel to his body: he extends his arms away from his body and the defender to attack the ball and pluck it out of the air.

Nice inside release from the outside, getting past the hands of the defender. He gets separation, then sticks his foot in the dirt and cuts to the middle. Just look at the space he creates with that cut, man. It's beautiful.

This is just a deep route running across the face of the safety. I was tempted to put this in the speed category, but ultimately decided to put it here due to the way he fights through the hands of the defender. He releases inside but gets jammed off the line and has to fight through contact on his way down the field. But he stays upright and stays on track, eventually blazing past his man. He looks like a skinny dude, but he can fight through contact. 

Love this rep from EQ. He's running an out-and-up from the slot, with Aaron Rodgers giving a pump fake at the initial cut to draw up the slot defender and create space over the top. The timing between Rodgers and EQ is perfect and EQ has a great cut upfield. Really sells the out-route on a cut and head-nod, then cuts over top of the defender.

What he does after the catch is great as well. He comes back to the ball, finds himself surrounded, loops under and beats everyone to the corner for a 54 yard gain.

When talking about EQ, this is the play it seems people reference most often. And for good reason. The score was tied 30-30 with 0:15 left in the game and the Packers were facing 3rd & 2 with 0 timeouts on the 49ers 47 yard line. This was looking like a game that was heading towards overtime. Until it wasn't.

We've seen EQ win the release inside so far, but we see him do it outside here. This has the look of a Transition Go throw, but with the Packers needing to stop the clock and the 49ers playing over the top, Rodgers throws a back-shoulder pass. The nice release puts EQ in a good position, but he still has to read and react to the defense and the pass. He is able to turn around, snag the ball and fall out of bounds. Huge play in a huge moment, all set-up by the quick-win off the line.

Here's another outside release from EQ. Takes a step at his man, then widens to the sideline and pushes hard down the field. EQ has a nice, hard cut on the curl. That hard push combined with the cut creates an immediate 4-5 yards of separation. 

Great route from EQ here, man. Great route. Releases straight at his defender and uses his hands to keep himself from getting tied up. Then he has a violent cut on the slant, which creates a couple yards of space between himself and his defender. He wins quick, and the first step on the cut is more than enough to get him the separation he needs.

EQ is running a post route into a Cover 0 look. The middle is open: all he has to do is beat his man. He pushes hard at the defender and takes a step to the corner route. That step widens the defender, so when EQ cuts back on the post, he has plenty of separation. Really nice route. 

Last but not least, here is a little bit of trickery from the Packers, with EQ selling it well. It looks like a slant/flat on the right. More than that, it looks like EQ is setting up to block the defender on Adams in order to spring Adams in the flat. EQ pulls up on the block, but the defense reacts as if the ball is going to Adams (aided by a little pump-fake from Rodgers). After that, EQ leaks out down the field and picks up 34 yards. Nice concept that is sold/executed well.


We just looked at 14 plays showing EQ's route-running ability. Of the 14 plays, he was targeted 5 times, catching all 5 for 140 yards. Even on the plays he wasn't targeted, he was consistently creating space on a variety of routes, lined up in different spots. We saw him beat defenders off the line, in small spaces close to the line of scrimmage and down the field. 

Next week, we'll be taking a look at how EQ looked in the run-blocking portion of his game.


Albums listened to: Phoebe Bridgers - Punisher; Taylor Swift - folklore; Bright Eyes - Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was; Margo Guryan - Take a Picture

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Dusty Evely is a film analyst for Cheesehead TV. He can be heard talking about the Packers on Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter at @DustyEvely or email at [email protected].

9 points

Comments (21)

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Coldworld's picture

August 26, 2020 at 04:21 pm

EQ is interesting because his prior year was far more impressive and he fell a long way. One if his proponents was walterfootball.com. Asked about the slide, comments included:
“ First of all, this draft analyst among others was just too high on St. Brown, who had received a lot of mid-round grades according to sources from a handful of teams. One college scouting director said their team had a third-round grade on St. Brown and considered him in the middle of the draft, but needed a different type of receiver, so they passed. That team did say they really liked St. Brown and thought he had the potential to be a receiver like Martavis Bryant.

Still, the mid-rounds aren't the late rounds, so St. Brown had a slide beyond just being graded lower than expected. One source said the reason why he slid was he a little bit of a weirdo coming from a unique situation, was a one-trick pony, had inconsistent hands, and average mental toughness.”

The most cited concerns I saw against him were questions about whether he had natural hands and his willingness to contest. There are also rumors that he refused to play special teams. On the other hand, prior to 2018, when his QB changed, he had excellent pass catching stats. Many seemed to think that he could develop into a quality player but the suggestion seems to be that there were questions as to his internal drive to do so.

I hope that he does.

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PF4L's picture

August 26, 2020 at 04:36 pm

Have there been any reports on how his camp is coming along?

The less i hear about him, the more concerned i get.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

August 27, 2020 at 02:15 am

He's not been mentioned very much.

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PF4L's picture

August 27, 2020 at 10:07 am

I didn't mean to offend anyone by asking how EQ is doing in camp.

My apologies, i hope i didn't hurt anyone's feelings by wondering how a player (we need to do well) is doing in camp,

Shame on me.

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Handsback's picture

August 26, 2020 at 05:25 pm

Nice work Dusty, and looks like EQ will make a statement this year.

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Leatherhead's picture

August 26, 2020 at 05:34 pm

A nice piece,Dusty.

However, the drunk at the end of the bar thinks he’s garbage, not a legit receiver, and part of a bottom five unit. So you must be wrong.

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Bearmeat's picture

August 26, 2020 at 05:43 pm

lol. You have feces on your hands, LH.

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Coldworld's picture

August 26, 2020 at 05:57 pm

Wait, I thought LH was at the end of the bar

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Leatherhead's picture

August 27, 2020 at 10:07 am

A hazard of dealing with turds.

I thought you didn’t read what I wrote? Was that a lie, or were you just wrong again? You know you’ve said those things. Man up and admit you were wrong.

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13TimeChamps's picture

August 27, 2020 at 11:21 am

And it was so peaceful for awhile when we just talked football without the name calling. But some people just can't help themselves.

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Leatherhead's picture

August 27, 2020 at 02:17 pm

I thought we agreed to ignore each other? Or was that just a lie, Princess?

I realize that reminding people what was said is kind of a dirty trick.

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13TimeChamps's picture

August 28, 2020 at 10:08 am

It really takes a lot of courage sitting at your computer 1,000 miles away, calling people names. You're my hero!

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Bearmeat's picture

August 26, 2020 at 05:45 pm

Yeah. We'll see. Same for MVS. I'm a little more hopeful with Lazard, because he's shown NFL playmaking ability for more than a couple flashes. He's still nothing special though.

Any blog could write about 25 of these every offseason about their hopes for the fringe players on the roster to turn their team into a super bowl winner. We're no different.

Let's see where EQ, MVS and Lazard are around week 8.

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dobber's picture

August 27, 2020 at 06:22 am

At least Lazard had 4 productive college years. Maybe not the athlete that MVS or ESB are, but more mature and developed.

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Coldworld's picture

August 27, 2020 at 09:01 am

All true of course, but everything depends on attitude and maturity and physical talent is the cap. Frankly, I’m not going to root against any of them. Sometimes I feel we can get too invested in our individual man. Need at least one and preferably two to come on this season. I’d prefer one of those to be MVS simply because he teases real speed, but all three of these had a long way to go in terms of improvement. How far they can go depends on them now, but none of these qualified as NFL ready. Fingers crossed.

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Leatherhead's picture

August 27, 2020 at 10:21 am

Bear meat......Last year at this time, minus EQ and including Allison, we were on our way to 13 wins, a sweep of the division , and a Championship game. Why would you expect that MSV and Lazard couldn’t get it done this year?

The WR unit is better than the one that won 13 games last year. I’m surprised somebody as astute as you can’t see that.

Three big, young, cheap guys that will block, run decoy routes, and get a couple of targets a game. We throw to Adams, we throw to the RBs, we throw to the TE. That’s the Order of Battle in our passing game this year. Adams will catch over 100 passes and RBs might catch another 100.

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Roadrunner23's picture

August 26, 2020 at 06:01 pm

Thanks Dusty

Pulling for EQ!

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

August 26, 2020 at 08:19 pm

A wealth of insight again Dusty.

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Jonathan Spader's picture

August 26, 2020 at 11:44 pm

Dusty,

Love your insights into ESB. I'd like to see articles extending the same courtesy to MVS, Lazard, Kumero, if you're up for it.

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DustyEvely's picture

August 27, 2020 at 09:15 pm

Were it not for a full time job, I'd be up for it.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

August 27, 2020 at 09:31 am

Coldwell,
That was an interesting perspective from the scout.

I cannot say I know much about ESB other than that of a typical fan, however I like everything I have seen from him so far. The guy is a gamer and if one watches his blocks off ball ESB seems to be a baller. You will see he is a hard and tough worker similar to Lazard IMHO! Additionally, I have not heard one bad thing about ESB's character and attitude since being a Packer. I like Lazard and ESB a lot because they came into the league with chips on their shoulders and a lot to prove. I see both with quite a bit of upside. ESB in particular barring injury will IMO surprise a lot of people this year and will be the key difference in the passing game from a year ago. Just my hunch that ESQ will have a significant impact in the passing game. I remain hopeful MVS shows marked improvement and these three WR's are the future for the Pack.

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