Have you ever been watching a football game on TV and heard the announcer refer to a player as a deep ball receiver. This style of wide receiver is common in the game of football yet many fans do not know what this football terminology means.
A deep ball receiver in football is a wide receiver whose skill set is tailored to beat defenders deep down the field in order to catch long passes.
Deep ball receivers are in most cases fast, tall, and tend to be elite when it comes to catching contested passes.
Key Traits Of A Deep Ball Receiver
Now that you know what a deep ball receiver is in definition let’s break down the key traits that separate these receivers from the rest of the crowd.
Top End Speed
One of the key factors of being a deep ball receiver is to have elite top-end speed. It is important that it is the top-end speed that is elite as quickness is not going to cut it as a deep ball receiver.
Since their role is to catch deep passes these receivers need to be able to maintain this speed for a fair distance. Slot receivers on the other rely on short quick spurts to get open.
While deep ball receivers will use their top-end speed to continually separate themselves from the defender as the play goes on. This way when a long pass is thrown their way these players will be at their top speed and will have separated from the defender.
Contested Catch Ability
Another key trait held by deep ball receivers is their contested catch ability. A contested-catch is a catch that is made despite the defender having competed for the catch while being in close proximity to the receiver.
In other words, a contested catch is a battle for the ball that is won by the wide receiver. The reason that this trait is so common in deep-ball receivers is because these catches are often contested.
Between the cornerback playing man coverage and the safety overtop it is unlikely that a player is going to receive a deep pass without defenders nearby. For this reason, most deep ball receivers are going to be proficient at winning these battles.
Whether it is through timing their jump, having good hands, or being stronger than the defender. You can expect deep ball receivers to excel when it comes to contested catches.
Size And Wingspan
Though this is not always the case, the size of a deep ball receiver is usually a trait that allows them to succeed.
If you watch football games on TV you will notice that the majority of deep-ball receivers are going to be over six feet tall and will have a large wingspan.
This is because these traits allow for them to more effectively catch long passes. The height and wingspan of these receivers allows them a larger catch radius making it easy to bring in balls
That all being said there are several deep ball receivers that play the position without much height or wingspan. In most cases, these receivers are going to excel in the other traits common amongst deep ball receivers.