What does a wide receiver do in football ? The 2022 NFL draft saw a record-breaking 6 wide receivers taken in the first 20 picks of the draft. And it’s clear to see – wide receivers are set to benefit more than any other of the offensive football positions in the game of football as offenses continue to shift to a pass-happy attack.
Wide receivers are the ultra-important final piece of the puzzle in the passing game. As the offensive line gives the quarterback time to throw, it’s all for nothing if offenses don’t have reliable, explosive playmakers on the outside capable of burning a defense at any given moment.
Most of all, elite wide receivers are an automatic 1 on 1 matchup issue for defenses on every single play. Have a 6’5 wide receiver with decent speed and good hands? The defense is sure to be on their toes, especially if they are forced to line up a 5’10 defensive back on him all game.
Without a doubt, wide receivers are an important, star-studded piece of every football team, and below will uncover why teams are beginning to invest heavily in the position.
What does a Wide Receiver do?
Wide receivers help tie together the three aspects of the passing game. It starts upfront with the offensive line giving the quarterback time, moving to the quarterback making sharp reads and delivering accurate throws. Wide receivers put the icing on the cake by running crisp routes, becoming available to the quarterback, and securing passes thrown their way.
You’ll often hear the importance of quarterbacks and wide receivers being on the “same page.” It’s hard to quantify, but is extremely important, as a lot goes into well-executed pass play, and it demands a high level of football IQ, and craftsmanship for wide receivers to get open on a consistent basis.
Winning 1 on 1 matchups, running every part of the football route tree against every coverage, and making tough catches are just a few of the fine aspects of elite wide receiver play.
Wide receivers also must possess mental and physical toughness, whether that’s through staying patient in getting limited touches, or taking a big hit over the middle of the field from an imposing linebacker. With the rate of teams throwing the football only climbing, these are just a few of the many valued attributes teams are looking for in wide receivers at all levels.
The secondary responsibility of wide receivers is run blocking. While it’s by far the less glamorous portion of their job, it contributes tremendously to the success of each offense.
The art of blocking sounds a lot more simple than it really is, and this goes for wide receivers as well as they look to hold perimeter blocks against either imposing linebackers, or agile defensive backs.
Intensity and effort is required out of receivers until the whistle is blown, as their hustle downfield to cut off a defensive back, or holding firm against a 240 pound linebacker is what allows 10 yard runs to turn into long touchdown runs.
Why is it called Wide Receiver?
Wide receivers are tasked with typically splitting out “wide”, away from the offensive lineman, near the sideline. As teams look to vary the formations they run, the “wide” split certainly isn’t used for every play.
As for the receiver portion of the name, it is their primary job to “receive” passes from the QB. These two details help to explain the origin of the wide receiver position name.
What is a wide receiver in the NFL?
A wide receiver (WR) is a player on the offense who is tasked with catching the football thrown by a quarterback (QB) and is occasionally asked to the run the ball.
The WR sets up on the line of scrimmage outside the offensive line and they make breaks downfield through open lanes as they attempt to get open for a pass.
What are the responsibilties of a wide receiver?
Once the quarterback has snapped the ball, the wide receiver will likely run downfield in an attempt to catch a throw from the QB.
With the constant running and frequent use during plays, WRs are often the quickest players on the team, and look to use quick turns and their speed to negate any threat posed by the defense.
What skills does a good wide receiver need?
With defenses placing an emphasis on wide receivers, there is a lot of stress placed on the shoulders of players in that position.
In order to be effective as a WR, there is no surprise that players in that role have to be exceptional catchers as their main responsibility is to catch passes.
WRs should also be able to withstand any hits or blocks from defensive players and hang onto the ball if hit after they catch it.
There also needs to be an excellent understanding of their positioning on the field from WRs to ensure that they stay inbounds when receiving passes.
What Does A Wide Receiver Do?
As an eligible receiver, your job will be to make your quarterback look like a genius by proving to be the ammunition in that loaded rifle of an arm. Basically, you have to catch their passes and drive your team up the field like a wrecking ball.
Starting plays from a less-congested part of the field, think of their hands as cushions and their legs as car engines, being able to pluck plays from the sky before setting off on their route.
When starting their plan to run from the scrimmage line, their bodies tend to be in a specific position. With feet shoulder length apart and positioned like starting blocks, they’ll lean forward to help them explode off the snap.
Catching The Ball
Catching the ball is obviously a crucial role for a wide receiver. The receiver must be able to catch the ball with their hands and secure it, especially in high-pressure situations. The correct hand position for catching the ball is with the thumbs together and the little fingers below the waist. It’s also essential for the receiver to keep their eyes on the ball and adjust their body position if necessary to make the catch.
Running routes is another key role for a wide receiver. The receiver must be able to run precise routes and create separation from the defender to get open for the pass. This involves understanding the playbook and the specific route being run and having good footwork and agility to make quick cuts and direction changes.
Run After Catching
Once the receiver has caught the ball, they must be able to gain yards after the catch. This involves having good vision, awareness of the field, and the ability to make quick cuts and evade defenders. It’s also important for the receiver to protect the ball and avoid fumbling.
Finally, a wide receiver must be willing and able to provide blocks for their teammates when needed. This can involve blocking a defender to open up space for a running back or providing downfield blocking to help a teammate gain extra yards. This requires good technique and physicality, as well as a team-first mentality.
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