Amon-Ra St. Brown named NFC offensive player of week

ALLEN PARK — Going into Week 3 of the NFL, wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown is a big reason that the Lions have the NFL’s fourth-ranked offense.

St. Brown was named the NFC’s offensive player of the week for his production in the win over the Commanders on Sunday when he had nine receptions, while setting career highs in receiving yards (116), receiving touchdowns (2), rushing yards (68) and yards from scrimmage (184). He set the NFL record for most consecutive games (6) with 8 receptions and a touchdown.

“I would say for me I’m looking to do much more than just be the player of the week,’’ St. Brown said on Wednesday. “That’s just this week. I’m looking to do a lot more this season as a team and individually. It’s a new week I already forgot about last week.’’

On Sunday at the Minnesota Vikings, St. Brown will need eight receptions to establish a new NFL record with nine straight games with 8-plus catches. He also needs one touchdown reception to establish a new team record by producing a TD catch in 7 straight games. 

“I would say I take pride in consistency, that’s something I take very seriously. But the record, it is what it is, I don’t go into the game thinking let me get this record. It kind of happened. Obviously last game I knew the record was at stake, the record I broke,’’ St. Brown said. “Going into it I was just playing ball and it happened how it did. Obviously next week if I get 8 more I will break another record. I go into the game just playing ball. I think the moment you start thinking about things like that is the moment you start playing slow, doing things you wouldn’t normally do.’’

St. Brown exudes a quiet confidence. When asked if he considers himself one of the top wide receivers in the league, he didn’t hesitate to say, “I feel that way,”

Quarterback Jared Goff said the stats are crazy but he hasn’t been forcing the ball to St. Brown.

“It hasn’t felt like we’ve been like trying, like we’ve got to get him involved. It’s just kind of the way the flow is going,’’ Goff said. “He runs good routes, he gets himself open. Again, it hasn’t felt forced. It’s been natural and he’s done a great job.’’

In his second year, St. Brown has turned heads around the NFL for his accomplishments as a fourth-round pick in 2021. 

It still irks him that he was drafted so late. He mentioned that the Commanders drafted wide receiver Dyami Brown before him in the third round, but he didn’t see him much in the game. Dyami Brown played but doesn’t have a catch so far this season. The Vikings didn’t draft a wide receiver before him, but as he pointed out they didn’t draft him either.

Coach Dan Campbell said on Wednesday that GM Brad Holmes was a fan of St. Brown’s early in the draft process before they selected him in the fourth round out of USC.

“I know for me, watching him reminded me of Jarvis Landry (Saints wide receiver) —  his competitive nature, he played smart. He was an aggressive player with the ball in the air, he would attack the football, you saw him block downfield, he was versatile, he had quickness and really the only thing he didn’t have he wasn’t a 4.3 guy,’’ Campbell said. “But everything else were traits we felt like fit us and he’d be a natural fit in the slot.

“In general as a group you want versatility, you want a little of everything — you want pure route runners, you want speed, you want size, craftiness, quicks and I feel like we have that in that room we have the right blend of guys who are all a little bit different and unique in what they could do,’’ the coach added.

Obviously St. Brown’s teammates may be his biggest fans.

“(The records are) very cool for him and it means he’s doing the right thing absolutely, and it means we’re somewhat on the right path as well for being able to get a guy who’s that good that often,’’ quarterback Jared Goff said. “The more popular he gets, the more notoriety he gets, people are going to have plans for him so you’re going to see those players like him go from where he’s at right now to really special and that’s where we hope he goes.”

Lions draft cornerback Chase Lucas in the seventh round

Cornerback Chase Lucas was selected by the Detroit Lions with their seventh-round draft pick (234th overall) on Saturday.

Lucas, who was a team captain at Arizona State, received second-team all-conference honors in 2020 (15 tackles, five pass breakups in four starts) and then garnered honorable mention accolades in his final year (34 tackles, six pass breakups in 10 starts). 

“It’s been a rough couple months, but it was a rough three hours today. It was hard to be patient and trust the process. … I ended up getting that beautiful news that I’ve been waiting 25 years for. I’m very pumped up, very excited but I’m also ready to work,’’ Lucas said on a conference call.

The 25-year-old started at the college level for five years after playing running back in high school.

“ I feel my football IQ is a big reason why I was drafted. I feel like I do a lot of studying, a lot of film work. I feel like that’s going to translate to the nickel spot hopefully for the rest of my career,’’ Lucas saidl.

Lucas, who is 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, broke out in a big way his redshirt freshman season by earning second-team All-Pac-12 and Freshman All-American honors (59 tackles, two interceptions, eight pass breakups, 10 starts in 12 games played). Lucas started 12 of 13 games played in 2018 (62 tackles, six for loss, two sacks, three interceptions, five pass breakups) and then all 13 contests as a junior (50 tackles, four for loss, one interception, four pass breakups). 

His draft profile reads: “Slender boundary corner with an enormous amount of football snaps in his background. Lucas plays in off coverages, which is likely for the best considering his lack of strength and long speed. He typically trusts his eyes and has the traits to make plays on the football. He plays with adequate footwork to pedal and match basic routes but struggles to stay connected to more complex routes, as his body control and change of direction let him down.’’

Lions add another pass rusher in sixth round with James Houston

The Lions drafted yet another pass rusher by selecting James Houston out of Jackson State in the sixth round (217th overall) on Saturday.

Earlier in the draft they had added defensive ends Aidan Hutchinson (first round) and Josh Paschal (second round). After drafting those two, Lions GM Brad Holmes said you can never have too many pass rushers.

Houston’s resume isn’t quite as sparkling which explains why he was still available in the sixth round although he did have 16.5 sacks last season.

“I actually didn’t have any contact with the Lions (prior to the draft), but I”m happy they contacted me today,’’ Houston said in a conference call on Saturday.

His nickname is “The Problem” and he loves it. He said some of the Jackson State announcers came up with it.

“I was wreaking havoc. I had 10 to 11 sacks on the season and they came up with The Problem like Houston we have a problem,’’ Houston said.

He didn’t play in his senior year of high school due to injury, but was still signed by Florida. He was suspended for his first season due to alleged involvement in a credit card fraud scheme with other teammates.

“Everything that happened last year and everything that happened in college all of that is out the window. I’m coming in to work hard and try to make this organization better,’’ Houston said.

Houston, who is 6-foot-1 and 244 pounds, returned to contribute as a reserve for the Gators in 2018 (28 tackles, two for loss, one blocked kick in 13 games), 2019 (38 tackles, six for loss with 3.5 sacks) and 2020 (37 tackles, 3.5 for loss with one sack) before transferring to Jackson State.

It was a good move that earned him second-team Associated Press FCS All-American and first-team All-SWAC honors by leading the FCS with seven forced fumbles, tying for second with 24.5 tackles for loss and with 16.5 sacks. Houston had 70 total tackles and returned his lone interception for a score during 13 starts. 

His profile reads: “His Florida tape gives insight into his potential as an aggressive, downhill linebacker with modest instincts and results from the middle. He’s shorter and smaller than teams like along the edge but plays with an instinctive rush approach that effectively utilizes his explosive athleticism and bend to overwhelm FCS tackles.’’