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How We Scout The Wide Receiver Position | NFL Draft | Football Scouting and Analytics

In today's NFL, the wide receiver position is among the most critical. NFL teams invested $30M in cap space in 2022 towards their WR room, and as the salary cap continues to rise annually, the WR price tags will follow suit.


Below is a list of critical components we use to grade the WR position during the NFL Draft process. Every WR receives a grade on a scale of 1-10 for each of the below components during the scouting process. Once each player component is graded, we attach a final grade to indicate where the player stands before entering the NFL Draft, and then we attach a ceiling grade based on future potential.

Speed: One of the most essential attributes for a wide receiver is speed. The ability to get open quickly and create separation from defenders is crucial. Coaches and scouts look for players who can run fast in a straight line and change direction quickly.


Route running: A wide receiver's ability to run precise and effective routes is another critical attribute. They should be able to run various routes, such as slants, curls, posts, and fly routes. A good route runner can create separation from defenders and get open for the quarterback.


Hands: A receiver's ability to catch the ball consistently is essential. Scouts look for players who can catch the ball with their hands and not rely on body catches. They should also be able to catch the ball in traffic and make contested catches.


Size and physicality: Wide receivers come in all shapes and sizes, but size can be an advantage. A taller receiver with a large catch radius can be a valuable asset for a quarterback. Physicality is also essential, as receivers must fight off defenders and make tough catches in traffic.


Athleticism: Wide receivers need to be agile and athletic, with good body control and the ability to make quick cuts and change direction with fluidity. Explosiveness and jumping ability are also important, as receivers sometimes must go up and high-point the ball in contested situations.


Football IQ: A receiver's ability to read coverages and make adjustments on the fly can make a big difference in their success. A player who can recognize zone vs. man coverage and adjust their route accordingly can be a valuable asset to a team.


Attitude and work ethic: Scouts look for players with a positive attitude and a strong work ethic. Wide receivers must be dedicated to their craft and willing to work to improve their skills.


Overall, scouting for wide receivers is a complex process requiring physical attributes and mental skills. A successful receiver must have speed, route running ability, good hands, size and physicality, athleticism, football IQ, and a strong work ethic.

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