Beavers ~ 5097/189
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 ~ Excellent. He's a tremendous Leaper, surprisingly Physical, and possessed of an extraordinary sense of Timing. He Tracks the Ball exceptionally well in any given Pattern. Any QuarterBack's Best Friend.
Navigation ~ Magnificent. Fluid, explosive out'f'is Breaks, and blessed with terrifying Break Away Speed.
Blocking ~ Pretty impressive for his Size, but still a Liability, there, of course.
*So it was said, at the time!!!
I was a big Fan of Markus Wheaton ~ the Mate who overshadowed Cooks for two full Years ~ last Year.
But Cooks is even deadlier.
In the right hands, the Aggregation of Skills that Brandin Cooks brings to the table could be devastating.
A SlotBack who is deployed almost exclusively as a Receiver ~ like the Great Wes Welker ~ is ultimately far more entertaining than he is dangerous, because he ultimately doesn't do much more than run Slants.
And One Trick Ponies ~ no matter how effective ~ are almost always solved, come January.
Welker always got his Stats, in The Only Games That Really Matter.
But he was never ~ not once ~ a Difference Maker.
Brandin Cooks, me Hearties...is a bit different.
Brandin Cooks can Take The Top Off. I could've just as easily listed'm as a Flanker.
And he can Wreak Havoc out'f the BackField.
The 21st Century SlotBack ~ as I imagine him ~ could and should be a true Hybrid: A guy who, on any given Play, might run a Route or take an Hand Off. The Impact on Blocking Dynamics with such a true Double Threat are potentially enormous. He can disrupt or even destroy a Defense's Schematic Game Plan. Yes.
Brandin Cooks, properly utilized, could have an devastating Impact on this Great Game.
Thanks, as always, to the extraordinary Work by the men of Draft BreakDown!!
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