The days of true bell-cow running backs are in the rearview mirror and franchise quarterbacks running the league is a tired narrative. A shift in the style of play, brought about by changes in league rules and an evolution in offensive creativity, has created an increased demand for receivers. That demand has been met by a surplus of blue-chip talent. From an origin standpoint, some of this is a byproduct of the game’s growth on a grassroots level. From Peewee and Pop Warner leagues to high school recruiting, media proliferation, and college offenses, overall talent has improved.

In regards to the position of wide receiver, smart offensive coordinators now plug niche players into roles where they can excel. For example, small shifty receivers are often sent to the slot, straight-line burners line up outside, where they can run deeper routes, and big receivers typically stay outside the numbers or show up in the red zone. At the end of the day, nearly every receiver in the NFL falls into one of four molds.