Hence the term.
They tend to be smaller than either the Split End or the Flanker, and the best ones are remarkably Quick.
And they're actually considered "Backs" ~ like HalfBacks or FullBacks...or QuarterBacks!! ~ which I find rather cool.
*Please do note, though: Schematically, theSlotBack is whoever lines up as the SlotBack...But for the purposes of these Scouting Reports, I am applying this NomenClature to those who are SlotBacks by trade, so to speak: Those whose Skills Sets apply best to that particular Job Description. What their Coaches might do with them, once they're drafted, is another matter all together. Ditto, the Split Ends & Flanker. In any case, many play multiple Roles.
It should also be noted that many Coaches deploy widely different kinds of Players at SlotBack.
Furthermore, I should append that the classic SlotBack is one that I would not employ much, myself. My Reports are based on my Perception of how they'd do in Offenses that do employ classic SlotBacks ~ like Wes Welker.
If it was up to me, though, SlotBacks would be employed far more dynamically. The way that the Vikings came to employ Percy Harvin, the last couple of Years, made him a significantly more disruptive Weapon, because he became established as a genuine Threat either to Run or to Receive, and from all over the Formation.
The very location of the SlotBack ~ in the murky Zone between Ends & Backs ~ demands a dynamic, Hybrid Role.
From a Tactical standpoint, most Head Coaches are leaving a load of advantageous Possibilities on the Table.
This is the sort of Role that would solve the Mystery of what to do with guys like Denard Robinson.
For now, though, that Conceptual Role ~ I'll call it FlexWing SlotBack!! ~ exists only in my Fevered Imagination!!
The most compelling Attributes of a SlotBack are, in my view, and in no particular order:
Separation. Getting Open. This encompasses their ability to beat Press, their Acceleration out'f the Blocks, their Routing Precision, their Agility, their Ricochet, their capacity to outsmart Defenders, and their Instincts.
Catching. This encompasses Hands, Catch Radius, Vertical Agility, and Timing.
Navigation. How well he Navigates the Field in Pursuit of Yards After Catch: Power, Agility, and Field Vision.
Blocking. Having a WideOut who doesn't Block effectively is like having 10 Men on the Field of Battle.
Catching ~ Absolutely outstanding. Ellington won't win every single Jump Ball, of course, not at 5094. But his combination of extraordinary Timing and Spatial Diagnostics, phenomenal Vertical Agility, and preternatural Concentration at the CatchPoint ~ and he's far stronger than most would imagine ~ make for an incredibly reliable Weapon.
Navigation ~ Phenomenal. Were Ellington foolish enough to switch positions, he could easily become an All Pro FlexBack for the next several Years. His tremendous Fluidity and explosive Ricochet, combined with outstanding Core Power and incredible Field Vision, render him a potentially devastating Threat, every time he touches the Ball.
Blocking ~ Adept. Moderate effort, solid Combat Skills, and excellent Core Power.
Bruce Ellington, for those who've actually got Lives and don't get consumed researching this stuff, was a 2 Sport Star with South Carolina for his entire College Career, standing out both in FootBall and in BasketBall.
He is by all accounts a tireless Freak of Nature, a Natural Born Leader, and an absolutely tremendous TeamMate.
His Work Ethic and Intelligence are Sky High.
As a Player, he brings explosive Possibilities to an Offense. His Route Running needs some development, but everything I see and read about the kid assure me beyond any reasonable doubt that he is replete with the Intelligence and Drive required to make the most of his Talents...and his Talents, taken as an whole, are phenomenal.
His aggregate Acceleration, Fluidity, and Ricochet, both measured and on Tape, are sensational.
His Instincts, his Timing, his command of Spatial Diagnostics, and his Field Vision...are spectacular.
He's a nasty little Bowling Ball who's just as capable of blasting through Tackles as around them.
He catches everything.
He's clearly always focused on the Moment at hand ~ on the Play.
And he's clearly focused on Moving The Chains for his TeamMates, and on winning, not on producing HighLight Reels.
Hell...You can even leave'm in to Block.
If the Team that drafts him is smart, they'll work'm into the Running Game at least a few times every weekend. Ellington is a genuine Threat to House It each and every time he touches the Ball, and by working him around all over the Formation, an Offense can keep its Foes in a constant state of Uncertainty and Terror all day long...with desirable results!!
Huge Thanks for the invaluable Work done by the Beasts at Draft BreakDown and NoonKick!!
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