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Ranking true No. 1 pass-catchers

Discussion in 'RAMS - NFL TALK' started by RFIP, Apr 8, 2014.

  1. RamsFan14 Well-Known Member

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    Disagree with the slot WR notion. I don't think there are many great slot WRs in the league so maybe it's tough to judge, but one who truly comes to mind is Wes Welker. He was a match up nightmare for teams, and Tom Brady relied on him to make plays consistently, and for the most part he did. I think you have to be pretty crafty to be be a great slot WR, cause why aren't teams doing what the Pats did with Welker when he was a Pat?! I'm hoping Tavon Austin can be that guy, because I think he can catch 80 to 100 footballs in a season with his talent. He's got the quickness and speed to get open quickly underneath. If he can consistently catch the football and make plays, why can't be be considered a number 1?! Cause he stands in the slot?!

    Is this the same kinda deal where some people don't believe running QBs can be elite? Running QBs being elite and slot WRs being considered #1 WRs?! Both are not your "traditional" QBs and WRs that we've seen consistently dominate, but if you make plays in your respective position (even though you play differently), why can't you be considered a good QB or WR? Cause you run as a QB or play slot as a WR? That doesn't make sense to me, if you make plays and cause match up nightmares, you're probably a pretty good player.
     
    #61
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  2. jrry32 Well-Known Member

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    Teams are doing it. Julian Edelman took over for Welker last year and had 1000+ yards in NE. Amendola would have put up 1000+ yards in the slot for us in 2012 if he had stayed healthy. Brandon Stokley put up 1000+ yards and 10+ TDs in the slot in 2004. Kendall Wright put up 1000+ yards out of the slot for Tennessee last year. Victor Cruz has torn it up as a slot WR for NYG. Doug Baldwin did quite well for himself this year in the slot for Seattle. And then you have outside WRs that move into the slot to exploit mismatches like Larry Fitzgerald, Brandon Marshall, Jordy Nelson, Marques Colston, Anquan Boldin, Vincent Jackson, etc.

    I don't consider any player limited to the slot to be a #1 WR. You're not talented enough to play and thrive outside...how am I supposed to consider you a #1 WR?

    You better bet I'm not going to consider a QB to be "elite" if he can't throw well enough to thrive without his running ability.

    Nobody is saying that Welker isn't a good WR. What I'm saying is that #1 WR is a distinction for me and in order to be one, you can't be limited in what you offer. You have to be able to do pretty much everything.

    So no, I'm not going to call a QB that has to rely on his running ability because he's an average passer "elite".
     
    #62
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  3. RamsFan14 Well-Known Member

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    A slot WR can have 1,600 yards, (hell it's say 2,00 yards) in a season and that wouldn't be considered elite number just cause he plays in the slot?! I'm sorry, I don't agree with you jrry32. Even if you're "limited to the slot," if you make big time plays consistently (over years too), you're doing your job as WR. WR's catch the football from the QB, idc if you're staying out wide or in the slot, catch the damn ball (I swear if you try and throw in TE on me lol... I don't want to have that argument, you should know what I mean lol). It sounds like a sin to play slot WR, they probably don't get the respect they deserve. Reading coverages and dictating your routes based on them, going over the middle to make catches, I mean it's not easy to do...

    And not to be a butt man, but the names you listed for slot WRs really isn't a lot. I'm sure there are more out there, but the only real slot WR to consistently play at a high level would be Welker. I think it's a position that's still developing around the league, it's not an easy position to play. If anything, you need to have a very high skill set to play slot WR, skills that aren't as valuable when playing outside (mostly quickness).

    As for the QB argument. Ehhh... Okay, I wasn't exactly going for that, but you have a point. To find a running QB AND one that has an accurate arm is very very tough to find. Aaron Rodgers might be the closest thing to that, but I don't consider him a runner over a thrower. Maybe RG3 one day if he stays healthy... Eh forget it.
     
    #63
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  4. jrry32 Well-Known Member

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    If you're not good enough to be able to thrive outside of the slot, why would I consider you a #1 WR? That's my take on it.

    As far as me not giving you enough names, I gave you 6 names of slot specific players. I can give you another 10 easily. Teams are doing what Welker did with the Pats. The Pats did it with Julian Edelman. The Giants did it with Victor Cruz. The Rams did it with Amendola. Titans did it with Kendall Wright. Lance Moore did it in New Orleans. Randall Cobb did it in Green Bay. Welker is great at what he does. But he's not a #1 WR. The guy isn't talented enough to produce at a high level when lined up outside...why would I rate him as a #1 WR?
     
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  5. jrry32 Well-Known Member

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    Hypothetical question...if you had a CB that was dominant in the slot against slot WRs but was mediocre/average when forced to play outside...would you call him a #1 CB?
     
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  6. iced Well-Known Member

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    Have seen Colston, Calvin Johnson,Brandon Marshall, and AJ Green also line up out of the slot (Especially Calvin last year)....pretty sure they're all #1 receivers without dispute
     
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  7. RFIP Well-Known Member

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    Seriously? He hadn't said a word to me about it so I doubt he does.

    Did someone message him?
     
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  8. Zaphod Well-Known Member

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    Nope, cause they're going to draft Kahlil Mack :)
     
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  9. Zaphod Well-Known Member

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    I agree with that. A number one WR can line up anywhere and be successful.
     
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  10. RamsFan14 Well-Known Member

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    That's like saying a power running back can't be a dominant in this league because they play a different style then a speedster! Think about it, is Eddie George a dominant RB because of his play style?! It's similar to the outside WR vs slot, they both have there own roles, it's how you produces that matters! And why does the dominant slot CB have to be mediocre/average outside? They could be mediocre outside, they might not be. If anything, you probably have more area to cover in the slot then you do outside!

    So players that play outside can play slot WR, but slot WRs can't play outside, is that what you're saying?!
     
    #70
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  11. NJRamsFan Cocaine Cowboy

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    You can call Wes Welker a #1 #2 or whatever you want. Fact remains, dude put up huge numbers and was the most productive receiver in the league for a 5 or 6 year span. Who cares what you call him, the guy impacted the game on a star level.

    This whole #1 wr label has gotten out of hand. I care more about production than silly labels.
     
    #71
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  12. tbux Well-Known Member

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    yeah I wouldn't call Harvin, Tavon, Welker, Cruz etc limited at all- again we disagree.
     
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  13. Memphis Ram Well-Known Member

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    Disagree. Teams are placing their best WRs in the slot from time to time to take advantage of more favorable matchups. Notice this doesn't happen often the other way around. With that, you won't have as many pure slot types racking up the same yardage as Welker. And especially if they aren't the #1 target in their offenses like Welker.

    No one is saying that Welker isn't a very good WR because he is and has been very productive. The point being made is that production has basically come from the slot where there can be more favorable matchups. Whereas, a #1 WR can be just as much of a headache in the slot AND outside.
     
    #73
  14. NJRamsFan Cocaine Cowboy

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    Why does it matter though? Production is Production. You can call them whatever label you like but you still have to call them some of the best WR's on the planet..
     
    #74
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  15. jrry32 Well-Known Member

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    Good. I think just about everyone agrees with that stance.

    Harvin and Welker are limited.

    Tavon can and should play outside. Cruz has shown flashes of being able to play outside. If he proves he can play outside, I'd consider him a #1 WR.

    No, it's not like saying that.

    You failed to answer my question. You only questioned the parameters I gave you.
     
    #75
  16. jrry32 Well-Known Member

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    Welker is an elite slot WR. No doubt about it. But you're not going to call an elite scatback like Darren Sproles a #1 HB. Because Sproles isn't capable of carrying the load.

    Welker isn't capable of playing outside and producing at the same level. Amazing player for the role he plays.
     
    #76
  17. tbux Well-Known Member

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    and no outside wr is going to be as good in the slot as Welker- it goes both ways.
     
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  18. Yamahopper Well-Known Member

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    http://nfl.si.com/2013/12/03/all-22-slot-recievers-brandon-marshall-jordy-nelson/

    Admit it — if I say “slot receiver,” you probably think of Wes Welker, and why wouldn’t you? Welker has redefined the position as it’s grown in importance throughout the NFL with his uncanny command of option routes and short-area concepts. But there’s more to the slot role than a bunch of seven-yard slants these days. Victor Cruz of the New York Giants has become a new kind of speed slot receiver, putting safeties to the test with elite speed up the seam. Other teams have followed that paradigm, but the really interesting thing about the slot position these days is how many teams are taking their star receivers and putting them inside to create matchups that are nearly impossible for defenses to win.


    This wasn’t as much of a concern in the days when passing offenses weren’t so wide open and formation-diverse, but in a new era, it makes all the sense in the world. If you can put your $60 million receiver with his rare height/speed/agility prowess on a nickel cornerback or linebacker, why on earth not?

    Take the case of Brandon Marshall. In 2012, the Chicago Bears’ star receiver ran 120 of his 546 routes from the slot. He was targeted 33 times, caught 22 passes for 318 yards, and scored two touchdowns. This season, Marshall has already been in the slot for 211 of his 467 routes — an uptick in slot percentage from 22.0% to 45.2% — and has 31 catches on 48 targets for 459 yards and five touchdowns. Calvin Johnson, Roddy White, Reggie Wayne before he was injured, Andre Johnson … the list goes on and on.

    As Greg Cosell of NFL Films and ESPN’s NFL Matchup explained, this tactic is a great way to push your best receivers away from your opponents’ top cornerbacks — because as much as receivers can adapt to the slot role, it’s a lot tougher for some pass defenders.

    “It becomes difficult to match up, because a lot of cornerbacks are purely outside corners — they don’t play in the slot. They’re not comfortable playing “two-way gos” (option routes in which the receiver can turn inside or outside based on coverage), and you get those in the slot. A lot of cornerbacks grow up playing outside. If they’re playing man, they’re comfortable with the sideline as a defender, basically. They know that they can play that way, and they’re comfortable with certain techniques that you can only play on the outside. There are a lot of good corners who just are not comfortable playing inside.

    “Let’s say you’re playing man-free coverage — if you’re doing that [in the slot], you have no help to the outside. There’s a lot more room to defend, and it’s just harder.”

    That’s one reason NFL teams are placing more value in true starting slot cornerbacks (another NFL trend that will grow in the next few years), but it doesn’t quite ease the pain of certain matchup nightmares. The Minnesota Vikings found this out on Oct. 27, when they gave up two touchdowns to Green Bay Packers receiver Jordy Nelson in a 44-31 loss. The Packers were trying to find ways to augment their slot productivity after a broken fibula took Randall Cobb out of the picture, and taking Nelson inside was an interesting switch. Nelson has been one of the most productive outside speed receivers over the last few seasons, but in his seven-catch, 123-yard performance against Minnesota, Nelson caught two touchdowns, and both were from the slot. His 76-yard touchdown with 3:36 left in the second quarter was a perfect example of what happens when a top receiver is let loose in an area covered by guys without the physical ability to keep up.

    Though Nelson had moved inside to the slot before, he couldn’t remember the last time he had done so with such frequency — perhaps “a couple years ago,” he guessed per the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. But there was no guessing about the effectiveness of Nelson in the slot — Nelson actually leads the team with 200 slot routes and 35 targets this season, and he had just 27 and six in 2012.

    “It worked well,” he said after the Minnesota game. “I had some good plays out of it. It’s something different we were looking at. We had some different opportunities and Aaron and I were able to connect on some big plays.”

    [​IMG]

    The Packers had a 3 x 1 formation with Nelson on the inside slot on the right side. The Vikings countered with nickel coverage and two deep safeties, but they sent nickel cornerback Marcus Sherels on a blitz from that same side, leaving a clear opening for outside slot receiver Myles White. However, the plan was for Aaron Rodgers to hit Nelson over the middle, and this was made easier by the fact that linebacker Chad Greenway had to haul it over to Nelson’s area as fellow linebacker Erin Henderson fired through on an inside blitz. Safeties Andrew Sendejo and Mistrial Raymond actually had a shot at compressing Nelson’s ability to stay open with their high-low concept, but Rodgers fired the ball with perfect timing, and Nelson raced through the defenders for a relatively easy score.

    [​IMG]

    “He is just a smart player,” Rodgers said of Nelson. “He can play inside and outside, and he understands all of the run concepts. We tried to get him in positions where we could get him singled up, and we like those matchups where we can get him one on one. Whether that is inside or outside, and he is just a valuable resource to our team, and to the young guys that we have in that role, and I am just really proud of him.”

    As for Marshall, he had two touchdown catches in Chicago’s 21-19 loss to the Detroit Lions on Nov. 10, and one of those two was from the slot into a deep vertical route. However, I was most intrigued by a formation the Bears used on their third play of the game. Chicago had third-and-six from their own 39-yard line, and Marshall stacked inside with tight end Martellus Bennett. The route combination used on his play perfectly illustrates how effective slot positions can be with creative playcallers like Bears head coach Marc Trestman.

    Bennett started his route by charging inside to block linebacker DeAndre Levy (who currently leads the NFL in interceptions with six), but he then took a sharp cut outside. Meanwhile, Marshall took defensive back Rashean Mathis up top as the route combination prompted single coverage on a crossing route.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    As this trend increases in volume, you’ll see more teams blurring the traditional lines for receivers — the advantages are too great to ignore, as Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said in July regarding a new focus on moving Calvin Johnson around the formation.

    “Calvin is so versatile — people don’t say [that] a whole lot. They talk about how great of a player he is, which is obvious. His versatility is the thing that took him to a different level last year — playing in the slot, playing not only his position but playing the split-end position. Shoot. he even lined up at a tight end spot a couple times. That has a lot to do with his growth — if you believe he can grow and can get better, I think he proved that last year.”

    This year, Johnson has run 119 of his 455 routes in the slot, and scored four of his 12 touchdowns there. Good enough for Megatron, good enough for the rest of the league. And the rest of the league is paying attention.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    This iis a couple years old. But shows how they move outside WR into the slot.
    It's all about the mismatches.
     
    #78
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  19. RamsFan14 Well-Known Member

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    How is a power running back vs a speedster running back any different from a slot WR vs an outside WR? Power running backs can't run outside nearly as effectively as a speedster, so he obviously he can't be elite, RIGHT?!?! That's the same logic you're using for slot WRs!

    What if an amazing outside WR plays the slot and performs average/below average, does that mean he's not a #1?! If you can shut someone down in the slot, I'd consider you a pretty damn good CB, so yea I might just say that. You can argue covering the slot is tougher then outside considering the slot WR has more ways to go then outside.

    I'm more about production then dictating who you are. You can have top numbers in the slot and be considered a top WR to me, I mean top numbers is top numbers... Playing slot is different then outside... There games are different and it's still evolving I'd say. Power running back vs speedster is along the same lines... Different roles, but if you produce then why not be considered great?

    Guess we can agree to disagree.
     
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  20. NJRamsFan Cocaine Cowboy

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    Yeah I get that. My point is who cares? Welker helped his team more than a lot of the so called #1s on the list. Why does he need to play outside? He completely dominated inside.

    Maybe by your parameters he's not the classic #1 guy but if a guy can consistently dominate his position he is just as valuable IMO of course
     
    #80
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