What Is A Gadget Guy? Football Terminology

When watching an NFL or College football game on tv you have likely heard the term “gadget guy”. This term is most commonly used when referring to receivers making a play on special teams, or playing out of there position. But what exactly is a gadget guy in football?

A gadget guy is a player that is capable of playing many different positions and roles on a football team. Much like early 2000’s cartoon Inspector Gadget a gadget guy can be used as a tool for just about any offensive situation.

These players are often not regular starters at their own position but rather a rotational player in several different roles.

What Are The Main Roles Of A Gadget Guy

There are several roles that gadget players occupy all of which are on the offensive side of the ball. I’m sure there are defensive players who play many roles but the term gadget guy typically refers to offensive players.

Here are some of main roles that gadget players tend to occupy

Slot Receiver

Outside Receiver

Running Back

Kick Returner

Punt Returner


Now to be clear most gadget guys do not play all these positions. Though it is not uncommon for players to play three or four of these roles.

Though as we stated earlier a gadget player is most likely not going to be the starter in these roles. A typical game for a gadget player varies greatly but will often include a few routes as a receiver as well as a few carries.

For the gadget players that play quarterback it can be quite hard to get on the field. A player like Taysum Hill has been able to play the quarterback position for at least a few snaps each game. Though this is not the standard for gadget players.

It is most typical for gadget players that can throw to only get an attempt every once in a while on a trick play.

Examples Of Gadget Guys In The NFL

Brad Smith – QB, WR, Kick Returner, Punt Returner


As you can see from the clips Brad Smith played a large number of roles for the New York Jets. This video displays him taking snaps as a running back, quarterback, and kick returner.

This is a great example of gadget player in the NFL. If you watched the Jets during his tenure there you would know he was not the starting quarterback. Though he was still able to get quite a few snaps at the position especially when in a running situation.

Brad Smith was the jets starter at the kick returner position and also played quite a few snaps at receiver. This is exactly what you want out of a gadget guy. The beauty of this style of players is that they take up a single roster spot yet can play many different roles for your team.

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