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B/R NFL 1,000: A Scout's Guide to Grading Wide Receivers

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05:  Wes Welker #83 of the New England Patriots catches a pass against the New York Giants during Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Giants won 21-17. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Matt MillerNFL Draft Lead WriterApril 12, 2012

The NFL has become a passing league, and a big part of that is the play of the many great wide receivers in the NFL today. 

What do scouts and general managers look for when evaluating wide receivers? Here is the breakdown of the 10 criteria we used in scouting, grading and ranking the Top 150 wide receivers in the NFL.

 

Agility

The ideal wide receiver must have the quickness and balance to change direction as a runner, blocker and route runner. 

 

Blocking

How well does the player explode off the ball, attack a cornerback or linebacker and keep moving? This area grades the receiver's ability to charge ahead and create lanes. 

 

Hands

A judge of how well the player catches the football in terms of technique and actual production. When catching the football we look for arm extension, open fingers and how the ball is caught before it is tucked in for the subsequent run.

 

Release

How well the receiver comes off the line of scrimmage, including how well the player disengages from press coverage.

 

Route Running

A grade of the player's understanding and ability to run effective routes.

 

Catch in Traffic

How well does the player make tough catches when guarded by more than one defender, or when running through the middle of the defense?

 

Speed

Speed is the player's ability to accelerate and run away from defenders. This factors in game speed, burst and long speed

 

Yards After Catch

The receiver's ability to make plays after the catch by use of speed, agility and broken tackles.

 

Vision 

The ability to find and track the ball when thrown. A good receiver can locate the ball over either shoulder.

 

Health

A player's 2011 injury status. Not only looking at actual injuries, but time missed to injury.

 

Overall

The cumulative score of the 10 traits above, all wrapped up in one score. This sets the player's place in the position ranking and, ultimately, in the B/R NFL 1,000 ranking across all positions.

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