Matt Waldman’s Rookie Scouting Portfolio breaks down a successful fade route from 2019 NFL Draft prospect Felton Davis III.
I haven’t watched a lot of Felton Davis III’s film but there’s one thing I know he can do and that is winning the fade route. Davis won’t win every fade route — especially if the cornerback plays tight to the line with an outside shade position to take it away — but when an opponent gives Davis that outside lane to work, the Spartans receiver know what to do.
It’s why this touchdown reception against Iowa’s cornerback is an instructive example of how to win the fade when the opponent gives the receiver this clear of an opportunity. Most fans will focus first on the catch. While the grab is technically-sound and a pretty display of athletic body control, one of the most important parts of winning the fade route is earning position where the ball will arrive.
Last week, I shared a series of videos that illustrated some of the problems that Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans has with fade routes despite the fact that he’s built for the route and it’s known as his money play. This video of Davis underscores the importance of earning a position where the target will arrive because the quarterback is throwing to a general spot.
Note how Davis earns control of the Iowa cornerback with his inside arm. Davis’ arm position dictates his position, enforces space between the two, and gives Davis an early advantage to get his hands in the air — above the cornerback.
I have a lot more to watch of Davis but for a tall and thin receiver, he understands how to use his length.
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