Canadian defensive back Benjamin St-Juste was trending on Twitter in Washington for his performance during organized team activities on Wednesday, June 9.
The Montreal native made plays all day long, including knocking the fooball out of No. 1 receiver Terry McLaurin’s hands on a jump ball in the end zone. The six-foot-three, 205-pound St-Juste captured the attention of social media and his head coach with the Washington Football Team, Ron Rivera.
“He plays the whole play, there’s no relax in his game. When the ball is snapped he’s in position. He’s got some natural abilities that are created because of his physical stature, he’s got long legs, long arms. He’s a pretty good package in terms of a nice, long, lean, corner,” Rivera said in a videoconference.
“He’s got tremendous vision and understands how to play with vision. He can look through the receiver to the quarterback, he can have one eye on the quarterback and still have a feel for where his receiver is, which allows him to have great anticipation, jump and make plays. He’s done a really good job showing us that.”
Washington invested a third round, 74th overall pick in St-Juste during the 2021 NFL Draft. He’s looked more like a comfortable veteran than nervous rookie in practices to date. Covering McLaurin, who had 87 receptions for 1,118 yards and four touchdowns last season, didn’t faze St-Juste at all, but the real test will come on game days for the Canadian cover man.
“The balance is if it’s innate, he’ll do it all the time. Right now guys are making plays because there are no consequences. The key is to see how they do when there are consequences, when you’re playing in games,” Rivera said.
“Right now there are no consequences for gambling, there’s no consequences for trying to make plays. Now when you get into the real game action, when things start to matter, is the guy going to continue to make plays? Or is the fact that there may be consequences if you don’t succeed, now what happens?”
That’s a major question only St-Juste can answer when the NFL pre-season kicks-off and the games that count begin. Until then the 23-year-old can continue to learn from defensive gurus such as Rivera and coordinator Jack Del Rio. Further developing his special blend of size, speed, quickness, and instincts to prepare for meaningful football will benefit him when he’s playing for keeps.
“He’s shown us that he has that ability to understand, he’s shown us that he knows what his techniques are and he plays to them,” Rivera said while stating St-Juste will earn playing time if he continues to grow.
“That’s one of the benefits when you get a guy that’s willing to do the little things, willing to work hard, willing to play hard, he’s going to go out and put himself in a position to make plays.”