We’ll move over to the offensive side of the ball now as our defense is built and our special teams have a solid core. Our quarterback is protected but we can’t leave him “flailing in the wind” as NFL Films Senior Producer Greg Cosell pontificates. We have to get our trigger man an athlete to compliment him that will be consistent in his pattern discipline, make the routine catch routinely, and be a play-maker.
We prefer the taller athlete. We haven’t spoken much in terms of size requirements for each position previously discussed but this particular position we believe warrants the discussion. Basketball athletic attributes are positives for the receiver position. We want players that can go up and make the play at its highest point framing the throw and extending. Individuals that are accustomed to coming out of breaks at full speed yet under-control and have a basic understanding of how to position their body to ward off a defender. Exceptional top end speed is always a premium but we’ll sacrifice a step for height, long arms, and big hands.
Receivers are also vital to your special teams structure. You may keep an athlete that is slightly smaller than you would prefer in your offensive corps but has return skills. Receivers often are an asset as “gunners” on punt cover and of course you want them all out there for the onside kick return team, to mention a few.
These are the players that can electrify your offense. These are the men that move the chains in chunks. To evaluate these men use these tools for the position of;
HANDS Type: soft, stiff, absorbing, extend and pluck, body catcher, adjust to the ball in flight, makes the difficult catch (low balls, over the shoulder, ball behind or away, general off target throw), secures the ball after the catch, concentration, size of hands
REACT/ADJUST See and reposition to the ball in flight, body control, frames the throw, make the difficult catch, vision, focus, tracks the ball, leaping ability, timing
INITIAL QUICKNESS Movement off the ball, stance, starts, burst into routes, consistent off the ball, immediate pressure, close cushion
RELEASE Escape hold-up in press coverage, quick feet, strength to fight jam, moves and techniques, gets into route and back on course quickly, sinks hips and bursts, hip and leg drive, “foot fire” guy
SEPARATION Acceleration and burst to leave a defender, can get over the top, creates space on out cuts, does he pull away, change of direction (COD) without wasted movement, horizontal, vertical
PLAY SPEED/TEMPO The velocity and intensity in which the game is played, with or without the ball, efficiency in movement qualities, can he carry his pads
MOVEMENT/COD Type of cuts; sharp, rounded, body control, stride, gathers, comes out of turn smoothly with a burst to separate, ease of movement, balance, faking and cutting ability, efficiency in movement, drop weight/sink hips, COD qualities, hard angle breaks, decisive out of breaks, lateral separation
FIELD AWARENESS Ability to find open windows in zone coverage, reads coverage, distinguishes man vs zone, awareness of positioning on the field and game situations, adjustments at the snap, clock management, works the boundary, pattern distribution
RECEIVE SHORT Ability to find open areas and settle, quickness to defeat man to man (run away from man/sit down in zone), catch the ball in a crowd, run through catch over the middle, cutting ability, awareness, can he or can’t he get open, pattern agility, provides a target, separation
RECEIVE LONG Speed to get deep, close cushion, force separation with defender, change of pace within the pattern stem, adjust to the ball in flight, over the shoulder, react to under-thrown ball, leaping ability on jump ball, acrobatic type catch, vision, concentration, vertical threat
IN TRAFFIC Courage, concentration, hold ball on contact, over the middle, big target, will battle for the ball, won’t turn down the throw, production inside the hashes, reaction in combative environment, catch in a crowd on the move
RUN ABILITY Athletic after catch, quickness, acceleration, elusiveness, open field instincts, change of pace, determined runner, fights for extra yards, stamina, ball security
BLOCKER Willingness, effort, aggressiveness, strength, adjust on the move, sustain, type of blocks (stalk, cut, crack), results
HANDS Dependable, consistent, natural vs body catcher, drops
MOVEMENT/COD Body control, drop weight/sink hips, efficient runner, ease of movement, route agility
STRENGTH Functional, escapes jam, gets off the LOS, stays on routes, sturdy runner, breaks tackles, physical, durable
PLAY SPEED/TEMPO Game speed vs 40 time, deep acceleration, burst out of breaks
RUN AFTER CATCH Athletic with the ball in his hands, speed, quickness, instincts, production, yards after catch (YAC’s)