Football

NFL Draft Preview: Q&A with Amon-Ra St. Brown

USC wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown declared for the 2021 NFL Draft on Jan. 2.

Over the six games of the 2020 season, Amon-Ra St. Brown caught 41 passes for 478 yards and seven touchdowns, one of which fueled a Trojan victory over the Bruins in the final seconds of the Crosstown Showdown.

From the moment St. Brown committed to the Cardinal and Gold, he made it known he was special. On national TV, the Anaheim Hills high schooler thanked his father John Brown in English, his mother Miriam Brown and two brothers Equanimeous and Osiris St. Brown in German and greeted old schoolmates in French.

St. Brown didn’t waste any time making an impression at USC, posting 750 receiving yards as a freshman and 1,042 as a sophomore.

Talent runs in the family bloodline. John, who is a former bodybuilder, two-time Mr. Universe and three-time Mr. World, added “St.” to his sons’ last names to make each more unique — despite their already extravagant first names — because he knew they would be special.

He was right.

Amon-Ra is set to hear his name called during the NFL Draft, which begins April 29. I asked him about what’s ahead.

Lauren Merola: Where do you see yourself being picked in the draft?

Amon-Ra St. Brown: I’m not one to say that, you know. A lot of people have different opinions, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but at the end of the day it’s up to the teams. The team that wants me should make that decision, whether they want to pick me in the first round, the second round, the third round or whenever they see me, wherever they choose, that’s where I’m going.

LM: Is there any NFL offense you see yourself really fitting into well?

ASB: You know what, there’s a lot of great offenses in the NFL. Obviously, some offenses throw the ball more than certain offenses do. So, probably an offense that likes to throw the ball around a bit and moves their players around, that’s an offense that I would like.

LM: Compared to other wide receivers in the draft, what are your strengths?

ASB: My strengths are my quickness, my competitiveness, my toughness and just my ability to get open.

LM: Has your brother [Green Bay wide receiver] Equanimeous given you any advice as someone who’s in the NFL and has gone through this process already?

ASB: Yeah, you know, I talk to him whenever I have questions, or he’s let me know what to expect on certain things. But just with this whole process right now, he told me what to expect and has been very helpful.

LM: If you’re drafted by the Packers, what will your reaction be joining a roster with your brother?

ASB: I think that would be awesome being able to play with my brother. I’ve never been able to play with him since, actually, my whole life. You know, when you’re younger, when you’re about 10 and you’re three years older than your brother, I’m seven years old, that age difference is huge at that age. Once you get to, you know, in your 20s, you’re all mature and everyone is at that same maturity level. When I was younger, I was never at that age to play with him because I was three years younger than him. But now I mean, like I said, we’re perfect in age. I have the chance to play with him, potentially. So, I think it would be so fun. Like I said, playing in the NFL at the highest level with your brother, it obviously doesn’t get much better than that.

LM: Let’s say it happens. Will you be competitive with each other? Would there be that sibling competition at practice?

ASB: Since we both play receiver, I think we’d both be very encouraging. It’s not like I’m going up against him, that’d be, obviously, completely different, but we’re playing the same position, so we probably want what’s best for the both of us.

LM: Who is your dream quarterback to catch a touchdown ball from? Why?

ASB: That’s a tough question, there’s a lot of good quarterbacks in the NFL. I mean, at this rate, he’s still playing right now, I would have to say Tom Brady, because he’s the GOAT.

LM: What former Trojan are you most excited to play against in the NFL?

ASB: That’s a tough question. I think Adoree’ [Jackson] would be fun. He plays DB. I’m a receiver. He was an ‘SC legend. So, you know, being able to go against him would be awesome.

LM: What is draft night going to look like for you? Who will you hug first when you hear your name called?

ASB: I’m not exactly sure yet. I’m pretty sure I’ll be back home in Anaheim Hills at my parents’ house. I’ll have my parents there, my brothers will probably be there — I mean, not probably, they will be there. My family will be there, but I’m just not sure about how many friends I’ll be able to [host] because of COVID and whatnot. I’m going to hug my parents — my mom and my dad, then my brothers. Definitely my family.

LM: Will we see any French or German in your speech come draft night like we did when you first committed to USC?

ASB: That’s a good question. You know, I haven’t thought of that yet. It would probably be a good idea, to probably do that. I haven’t thought of that yet, but, since you said that now, I might need to do that.

LM: In terms of fashion for draft night, do you have your outfit picked out? Are you thinking more of a customized suit or a Henry Ruggs-getting-drafted-in-your-robe kind of day?

ASB: I don’t have my outfit yet. I was looking at getting a suit, but I don’t know what I’m feeling yet. I got to talk to people and see what the vibes are going to be like.

After this interview, St. Brown posted to his Instagram story holding German-brand Hugo Boss bags with the caption, “Thank you Boss for getting me right for draft night!!!” He will not be pulling a Henry Rugs-getting-drafted-in-your-robe.

LM: On NFL Total Access, you said your goal for the adjusted NFL Combine 40-yard dash is a 4.4 and bench press is 25 reps. How have you been preparing to hit those numbers?

ASB: I’ve been working out, training for the last month or so. My speed coach is Gary Cablayan, and we do Monday, Wednesday, Friday speed work. Then for the bench, I’ve been lifting with my dad. He was a bodybuilder himself, so he’s pretty strong.

LM: How confident are you that you’ll hit those numbers?

ASB: I’m pretty confident, you know. I hit 23 reps of bench my sophomore year at ‘SC so 25 is, you know, once you get that high, each rep counts, so it’s a lot of reps but I’m confident I can do it. Then a 4.4, with how I’ve been training, I think I’ll hit it.

On Pro Day, St. Brown ran a 4.51 and posted 20 bench reps. He didn’t hit his goal numbers, but he impressed nonetheless.

At his USC Pro Day press conference, St. Brown said playing in offensive coordinator Graham Harrell’s Air Raid offense helped prepare him for the next level. “Catching a lot of balls is something you can never do enough of as a receiver,” St. Brown said. He also takes a lot of pride in his route running, often finding himself studying NFL highlights posted to Instagram.

“I’ve always wanted to play in the NFL,” he said. “It’s always been a dream of mine. You can ask all my friends since I was a kid. For me, being this close, it’s surreal.”