Why are NFL wide receivers nowadays so good, so soon after entering the league?

Eight years ago, he was 13 years old George Pickens Watch Odell Beckham Jr make One of the most incredible moments in NFL history. Watch it on TV first, like the majority of football fans, and then continue watching Beckham on YouTube.

Throughout middle and high school in Alabama, Pickens watched and learned from some of the NFL’s best wide receivers through a computer or phone screen. He saw how the OBJ ran around the defenders, or how Davant Adams Released off-line, or even how Tavon Austin turned around the field. Then he goes out to his backyard and tries to imitate her.

“I knew how to run tracks myself, but I started watching YouTube just to see how open and different guys became,” Pickens told Yahoo Sports recently. “How are these guys, you know, doing these kinds of moves like this?”

Now that he’s a professional, Catch all but the iconic OBJ hunting repeat In week 3 against Cleveland Browns. He even got a shout out from Beckham afterwards on Twitter. Like Beckham’s widespread reception, that night was remembered not by everyone for the score, but for what Pickens did.

Pickens is the perfect new-age wide receiver for the job. He is a junior, but already a rookie among another group of young people on a large scale. The first three receivers captured in the 2022 draft already have more than 200 yards through four games. Pickens, second, has 167 yards. fourth round Romeo Dobbs She has 184. Jahan Dotsonthe fifth rib captured in the first round, has four touchdowns.

Now more than ever, receivers are quickly showing their value in seasons one or two. It doesn’t take 3-5 years for a receiver to develop into a star anymore.

Justin Jefferson And the Ja’Marr Chase 17-year-old Anquan Boldin broke a one-season record as he collected yards in consecutive years in 2020 and 2021. Last season, 12 models under 26 hit 1000 yards – The most in NFL history.

It’s hard to miss with a first-round receiver lately, too. Only three of 15 receivers captured in the first round since 2018 – nickel harryAnd the Galen Rigor Henry Roggs – They haven’t yet posted an 800-yard season in at least 13 games. Seven of these 15 She had already exceeded 1,000 yards in one season.

The two-way logic can be summed up in football and a particular development in technology.

NFL wide receivers are adapting to professionals faster than ever these days.  (Michael Wagstaff/Yahoo Sports)

NFL wide receivers are adapting to professionals faster than ever these days. (Michael Wagstaff/Yahoo Sports)

professional style and heavy passes You have I quickly gained strength Over the past 20 years at all levels of football, which in turn makes the position of the recipient more valuable to the team and therefore more financially beneficial to the player. Also, the age of social media has created a world where gamers can watch, re-watch and smash movies from anywhere and on any device.

The dream, so to speak, has never been closer for many aspiring players.

The passing boom has permeated football at every level

It’s impossible to look back at the past two decades and not see the rise of the passing game in the NFL. Attempts increased by 9.4 percent during the 16-game schedule from 2000-2019 and reached 18,712 in the first season with 17 games in 2021. Passing attempts increased by 25.7 percent during that period as well and reached a high of 871 in the 2020 season.

This is not just a group trend. The advent of the scrolling game signaled a shift from relying on sprinting to receivers as well. There were 23 1,000-yard bursts in 2000 compared to 17 1,000-yard receivers. By 2011, there were 15 backs to 17 viewing points to hit that mark, and the two positions continued to diverge until 2021, when there were 23 receivers to skip the mark and only seven from behind.

The growth of fouls at every level of football has played a large role in teams’ reliance on passing attackers. Influenced by college ranks, high school coaches began adopting groups of 11 or 10 more pass-heavy (four crossbars with only one run and/or no tight ends) to fuel their offense over the past decade. Players are starting to go to more 7-on-7 camps And also that fuels the heavy scrolling practice approach. This eventually resulted in players being exposed to more pro charts very early in their development.

for example, Cincinnati Bengals Star Ja’Marr Chase learned how to play rampant crime during his sophomore year in 2016 at Rummell High School in Metairie, Louisiana. Head coach Jay Roth switched from a running-oriented attack to a scheme similar to that run by Mike Norville at the University of Memphis at the time, with non-overlapping pace plays that include a wide range of paths for passers.

“He was able to identify a crime similar to what he might run in college or the next level,” Roth told Yahoo Sports.

The same can be said about New York Jets Rookie Garrett Wilson, who joined the Lake Travis High School team as a sophomore in 2017 after switching from quarterback to wide. Lake Travis and other schools in Texas have quickly switched to a pro-attack style over the past 20 years, which coach Hank Carter says Wilson helped Wilson when he went to Ohio State a few years later.

Graduated from high school, [Wilson] It was a pretty decent foundation for understanding how to control his body, his running ways and all of that stuff,” Carter said. “Garrett was able to get in and adapt pretty quickly.”

The rule changes helped the recipients a lot, too. Defensive backs can’t touch receivers more than 5 yards from the line of scrimmage (something The NFL recently asked officials to pay more attention Until this year) and defensive penalties for interfering or passing are more prevalent. This gave receivers more freedom to move around the field and play games in space.

As a result, smaller scroll hunters also became more important. You no longer have to be at least 6 feet tall and over 200 pounds to be a first-class NFL receiver. From 2000 to 2010, there were 38 receivers at 1,000 yards under 6 feet. From 2011 to 2021, there were 62.

“It doesn’t matter if you have a 5-5 or 6-5 if you know how to start creating a class from release to the top of the break, you know how to open up, know how to run and catch tracks,” Texas resident coach Delfonte Diamond said. “If I were an NFL coach, I wouldn’t care about height.”

Diamond, who has coached the Dallas Cowboys-wide CeeDee Lamb since Lamb was 14, noticed a change in his more prolific pass-picking gear in 2011 as well. It wasn’t random either. That year also saw the occasional release of a YouTube video that another reception coach, Tevin Allen, says sparked the revolution.

The rise of social media has provided recipients with a new kind of guardianship

Allen is a trainer in South Florida known as the Gold Feet. He says he has coached more than 200 NFL members, and he remembers the video on social media well. she was Posted on YouTube during the 2011 NFL shutdown And great specials recipients like Chad Johnson, Andre Johnson and Santana Moss train with South Florida coach Bo Smith.

The 6-minute and 40-second clip showed the exhibitors, including 22-year-old Antonio Brown, going through the nuances of road running, hand position and footwork basics – the virtually secret formula for cracking the receipt code.

Up until that point, training was a closed world for young players looking to move on to the next stage unless they had connections or money, which neither Allen nor his friends set up, he said. And the videos the athletes post won’t drop much either, except maybe how much weight he lifts or how many hill races they run.

But when he and his friends watched the video, Allen saw for the first time how they were building their future.

“No one was really showing off on Instagram for everyone to see what they actually did behind the scenes,” Allen told Yahoo Sports. “And once that happened, it was kind of a free game.”

George Pickens'  Grab Brown's highlight is more than one play.  (Associated Press/David Richard)

George Pickens vs. Brown’s outstanding reel grab is more than one play. (Associated Press/David Richard)

This video helped usher in a wave of coaches posting videos of their clients on social media. Everything exploded even more when Instagram added videos to its platform in 2013. Kids not only followed their favorite stars, they followed their favorite stars” coaches. They have seen and learned how the best footballers in the world have worked and polished their profession. Right in the palm of their hands.

This exposure, along with the emergence of loyalist offenses at the high school level, helped create a new level of confidence and excitement among players who wanted to become NFL stars.

This original video wasn’t supposed to see the light of day. Bo Turner, who was the coach in the video, didn’t want to give up on his systems and training plans. Turner helped coach NFL players in various positions, including Chad Johnson, Defonta Freeman And the Adam Thelin.

“We never filmed this stuff because it’s very, very vital information for anyone going through these things,” Turner said. “If you can master these things, no one will be able to stop you in what you are doing.

“It was a closed world 10 years ago. Now the world is completely open.”

“They go into the game to pass a 60-yard touchdown”

The boom of the wide receiver does not seem to be slowing down. Just look at the money the teams have spent on scroll hunters over the past few years. The receiver’s value has never been higher, and young players are buying into the hype.

Longtime reception coach Jerry Sullivan watched it all unfold over his 40 years in college and NFL levels. He’s worked with players from Bolden and Larry Fitzgerald to Jefferson.

“What’s more exciting than watching: Driving for 70 yards when they run the ball 10 yards or 5 yards and score, or watching a guy catch a 60-yard touchdown pass?” Sullivan asked. “Well, they go into the game to pass the 60-yard touchdown. It’s like how a car in 2022 doesn’t look like a car in 2001. It changes with people’s tastes and people’s taste now is speed and excitement.”

And with all that video-laden work on the phone, it’s never been easier to turn backyard practice tracks into the iconic NFL game Thursday night. Just like what Pickens did a few weeks ago.

“Think about this: It’s not the first time [Pickens] Sullivan said. “I bet he looked at that old catch Odell Beckham maybe a thousand times. Then he knew how to do it. And when the time came, it worked.”

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