A Lesson In Zone Routes
By Matt Waldman
The depth of the wide receiver class is one of the headlines of the 2014 NFL Draft. The subtext of this storyline that deserves more attention is how the volume of talent at the position generates massive variation of player grades from team to team across the league.
According to a scout that has worked for a few teams during his career, variation at the position is common. And the contributing factors go beyond the fundamental differences with how individuals within these organizations see talent.
Fit within the offensive scheme is the most obvious differentiating factor. One organization may use a slot receiver as primary weapon—an extension of the running game, a movable mismatch, or an every-down zone beater. Another team has specific defensive schemes where it needs a slot receiver on the field. Then there’s the offense that uses a tight end or running back in that role.
In light of these differences, a talented 5’9”, 192-pound prospect will have a second round grade for the first team; a fourth round grade for the second; and the final team considers the player an undrafted free agent. Expect a lot of hand wringing and fist shaking from fans and writers on draft day when receivers they value are passed over for receivers they don’t.
A receiver I suspect has a wide range of draft grades this year is Wake Forest’s Michael Campanaro. In eight games last year, the Demon Deacons’ receiver accounted for 41 percent of the passing game’s completions, 46 percent of its passing yards, and 55 percent of its touchdowns. His combine performance was as impressive as any receiver . . . Read the rest at Football Outsiders.