Cooper Kupp is leading the league in most receiving categories and is also currently second of all players in Pro Bowl votes. This week PFF points out just how dominant Kupp has been specifically from the slot position.
According to PFF, Kupp has recorded 840 receiving yards from the slot position — while no other receiver has over 550.
Cooper Kupp leads the NFL in receiving yards from the slot with 840 yards— PFF Bet (@PFF_Bet) November 24, 2021
No one else has over 550... pic.twitter.com/mBZsAU4htT
What does it take for a slot receiver to be effective? Here a few aspects of the slot position that Kupp in particular has been excelling at.
A receivers route tree or catalogue determines how versatile they can be and how they can be used. Receivers can be gifted or limited in their route tree based on their build, skill, or knowledge. Kupp is exceptional when it comes to possessing a complete toolset of routes at his and Coach McVay’s disposal. Because the slot lines up closer to the ball than the wide split receiver, they have more area to both their inside and outside. This means that they must be able to run both in breaking and out breaking routes. Crossing routes, seam routes, and wheel routes, are all examples of popular patterns ran from the inside position. Kupp has been especially dangerous on the deep crossing pattern coming across the field behind the linebackers and on sail routes that break out under the wide go route that clears the field.
In general, the slot has more to work with being lined up inside, closer to the ball and the middle of the field. This means that he has more of the defense to read compared to the wide out who reads mainly his side of the hash. The ability to read the entire defense including both safeties and linebackers, is a necessity when operating from the slot. Kupp has demonstrated this in spades finding windows within zone coverages, showing off clean breaks when manned up, and running away from unlucky linebackers tasked with covering the leagues best slot receiver.
Ball running skills
Given the nature of the slot working in the middle of the field and using the whole field to run away from defenders in coverage, slot receivers often catch the ball with more opportunity for run after catch yardage. Slot receivers are also in a position for jet sweeps and shuffle plays that either hand the ball off or get a quick pitch to the slot as a running play. To be a complete slot back, just like a running back the rule should be to make at least one tackler miss every time running. With Kupp leading slot receivers in yardage by a large degree, you can bet a good chunk of that is produced after the catch.
And now for today’s links: