Losing sucks. If you have a competitive bone in your body, it doesn’t sit well with you. It’s the reason you’d be hard-pressed to find a happy loser. However, Detroit Lions General Manager Brad Holmes could be the exception. And Amon-Ra St. Brown is the reason.
On Thursday morning, the NFL named St. Brown the Offensive Rookie of the Month for December. From Week 13-16, St. Brown had 35 receptions for 340 yards, and three touchdowns. Over those weeks, he led all rookie receivers in receptions, yards, and touchdowns. Additionally, he was a key factor in the Lions’ lone two wins this season.
And here’s the baffling part. Through the first 12 weeks of the season, St. Brown hadn’t registered a single touchdown. His first NFL touchdown was a game-winner in Week 13 vs. the Vikings. During the Lions’ media session on Thursday morning, offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn spoke on St. Brown’s progression. He cited the rookie’s route-running and coverage recognition as the areas he improved the most in since the preseason. However, with St. Brown’s recent surge, one could question why he wasn’t a bigger factor in the Lions’ offense.
Lynn addressed that as well.
“Early in the year he wasn’t quite as seasoned like he is now,” said Lynn. “And you had T.J. [Hockenson} and other guys you were trying to get the ball to a little bit as well early in the year, but he blocks. And we’ve made it known that if you’re a receiver in this offense, and you block, you will get targets. And he’s one of the best blocking guys on our football team.”
Lynn’s words regarding Amon-Ra St. Brown’s blocking aren’t shocking. After all, the rookie wideout has drawn comparisons to Pittsburgh Steelers legend, Hines Ward, over the last several weeks. And many regard Ward as one of the best blocking wideouts in history.
All of this leads us back to Brad Holmes, and how he factors in all of this.
When former Lions wideouts Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones bolted Detroit for “greener pastures”, Holmes had a problem. He needed to acquire talent for Jared Goff to throw to, via free agency and the draft. If anyone paid attention to Twitter during the 2021 NFL Draft, Lions fans were antsy.
Once the Lions selected Penei Sewell with the No. 7 overall pick, fans were ready for the Lions to select a receiver. That didn’t happen until the 4th round. That’s when the Lions selected St. Brown with the 112th overall pick.
“After we drafted [Amon-Ra] St. Brown, I felt like people finally would get off my a** about not getting receiver,” said Holmes after the 2021 NFL Draft.
As mentioned, Brad Holmes isn’t smoking a victory cigar over the Lions season, per se. The team still has a losing record. Despite that, Holmes had a vision for how he wanted to build this Lions roster through the draft. By sticking to his guns, St. Brown fell in the Lions’ lap in the fourth round. Because, remember, before the draft, many scouts and experts had teams picking St. Brown between the second and third rounds, not the fourth.
Many will praise Amon-Ra St. Brown’s efforts over the second half of the season, and rightfully so. He’s been huge for the Lions. However, make sure to send some of that praise in the direction of Brad Holmes. He didn’t only select a receiver with tons of potential, but a guy who embodies the blue-collar work ethic of Detroit.
Follow Kory Woods on Twitter at KoryEWoods.