Grading the 2015 NFL Draft Wide Receiver Position: The Split End (X)
What I’m looking for in the “X” or Split End, is a receiver that is able to consistently beat 1-on-1 coverage with a CB or a Safety/LB. The ‘win’ can come from a multitude of ways. He can win with routes and a good release. When I say ‘win with routes’, I’m mostly speaking with your short to intermediate variety: Drag, Hitch, Slant, Speed Out, Skinny Post, In, Curl. Those he’ll have to win consistently. The occasional deep route doesn’t have to be his ‘specialty’ because he would be what I would call, your possession WR. Again, that philosophy varies from coach to coach.
Winning with speed would be the next way; speed with the ability to eat up cushion is definitely a major plus. Finally, he can also win with power, showing the ability to ‘out-physical’ the DB. Also, with this receiver being isolated on one side of the field, more often than not the WR will see coverage from the CB or some sort of bracketed coverage from the backer to his side. This is why it’s also important to have guys that are high Football I.Q. players. Some will say that your Split End is your best receiver, but it really depends on your offensive philosophy and scheme.
Now that I’ve given you my philosophy on what I’m looking for at Split End, here are the receivers in the 2015 NFL Draft that I have graded out high for the X position.
Grading the 2015 NFL Draft Wide Receiver Position: The Flanker (Z)
My personal philosophy on the Flanker position is that this is a player that has to have the game-breaking ability. The Flanker must be able to win with speed, quickness and power off the snap. Being off the line of scrimmage allows him the freedom to be placed in motion and it also keeps him from getting jammed at the line. Guys that are dynamic enough to play the position, tend to operate extremely well off the ball. Teams will tend to rotate coverage toward the Flanker’s side of the field. In my opinion, you want your most explosive receiver playing this role because they get the benefit of getting out of the blocks quicker without resistance; which then allows them to put pressure on the defense. And because of that type of ability, they’re a threat no matter if it’s a quick screen or a deep pass down the field.
Here’s my list of the Top 11 Flankers in the 2015 NFL Draft
Grading the 2015 NFL Draft Wide Receiver Position: The Slot Receiver (S)
In my opinion, slot receivers are guys that can win from inside that 10-yard box inside numbers. The job requires a tough, shifty, smart & physical player that can win on both ends of offense; blocking and catching the football. The stereotype is that a player has to be short, small & quick ala Wes Welker…when in all actuality, Welker is only one type of guy that can play in the slot. When the Vikings had Randy Moss, Cris Carter & Jake Reed playing together, all spent time in the slot. Why? Because all have good Football I.Q., and spatial awareness. Which is essential to play in an area where bodies are constantly flying around.
It takes a special player to play inside and here’s a list of the guys in the 2015 NFL Draft that I graded out as the best Slot Receivers in college football.
Grading the 2015 NFL Draft Wide Receiver Position: The Inside (F) Receiver
I’m a big fan of the Inside Receiver position. I look at this position as your ‘bigger’ WR or more ‘physical’ WR position on the field. It requires guys that don’t mind blocking. You’re going to see a lot of down blocks, crack blocks, reach blocks from these types of players. As far as the passing game, these are the types of players that has to have an affinity for the short-to-intermediate passing game. You want them to operate well in short, confined spaces. Seam, square-in, digs, stop, quick outs and turn routes are mostly the routes these guys will be asked to excel exclusively. You can also utilize these guys situationally on the outside, more in particular in the Red Zone.
Here’s my list of the Top Inside (F) Receivers in the 2015 Draft Class:
Grading the 2015 NFL Draft Wide Receiver Position: The “U” Position or 5th Wideout
Final installment of our ’15 NFL Draft Wide Receiver prospect rankings series takes a look at the “U” Receiver or better known as the 5th option. These are guys that are either strictly situational players or provide value on special teams, and guys that are a little rough around the edges as far as routes and the other subtle nuances of the game are concerned. Most teams tend to carry 6 and sometimes 7 WRs. These guys have a ton of both talent and value. And when you’re the 4th – 7th option on a squad, you have to have the ability to play Special Teams.
Here’s my list of the Top 16 “U” position prospects in the 2015 NFL Draft: