Fighting Irish ~ 5115/189
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 ~ Exceptional. Excellent Hands. Excellent Extension. Moderate Vertical Agility.
Navigation ~ Impressive. Agile, Fluid, and Quick. Improving Field Vision, I think.
Blocking ~ Mediocre. Solid Motor and Combat Skills.
Perhaps I've watched too many Years of Tom Brady's dependency on Wes Welker: They could work wonders, all Year long, until The Only Games That Really Matter started happening in January, at which point the really good Defenses found containing Welker to be child's play...and at which point our entire Offense ground to an Halt.
Moving The Chains doesn't do you much good after New Year's Day...if you can't Move The Chains in The Red Zone.
Having said all that: A 21st Century SlotBack ~ and yes I freely admit that I'm the only one preaching the Concept ~ who is a legitimate Hybrid Dual Threat, a guy who can and will run the Ball an half dozen times or more each Sunday, as well as being a squeaky, slippery Passing Game Weapon...can provide a dynamic, destructive dimension.
Tailer Jones is no Terror, mind you...But he is an extraordinarily crafty and agile Route Runner with exceptional Hands.
God forbid you try to run an Offense through'm...But as a flashing, slashing component of an Offense, one who could tear things up in the Short Game, I believe that he could and probably will prove to be a tremendous Asset.
Thanks, as always, to the extraordinary Work by the men of Draft BreakDown!!
Consensus Market Value