What Is a Wide Receiver in Football And Why Are They Important?

Every football team has several essential players,

A Football Report
What Is a Wide Receiver in Football And Why Are They Important?

Every football team has several essential players, and some coaches would probably say every position is valuable across the board. The fact is that some positions are much more important than others when it comes to the gridiron, and one of those is wide receiver. Fans would probably argue that the quarterback could be the most critical position since they usually are the leader and tend to make the plays happen on offense. Nonetheless, wide receivers are in critical positions. We’ll explain what a wide receiver is, their function in a team, and why they are essential below.

What Is A Wide Receiver?

A wide receiver is a crucial player on the offensive side of football, primarily looking to get open, catch the ball, and score a touchdown. The quarterback scans the fields for open receivers for certain plays and passes them the ball, so they can move closer to the endzone and increase the team’s chances of scoring. Another role of the wide receiver is to play as a decoy on certain plays and/or block a defensive player, so a running back can run the ball forward, accumulating positive yards. Some of the biggest names to ever grace the field have played wide receiver, including Terrel Owens, Randy Moss, Marvin Harrison, Cris Carter, and Calvin Johnson, just to name a few.

What Makes A Good Wide Receiver?

Many people would argue about the different elements that make up an excellent wide receiver at any level of the game. However, there are certain attributes every good receiver needs to be successful on the field, including good hands, solid hand-eye coordination, solid football IQ, coachability, speed, stamina, and more. We’ll explore some of the critical attributes in further depth below.


Having soft, sure hands that can catch a variety of passes thrown by a quarterback is a vital characteristic of any good wide receiver. Another aspect of this can catch balls and hold them securely while running up the field. Some lower-quality receivers could be great at catching, but it may slip out of their hands as soon as they take off. This also takes a good sense of hand positioning intertwined with solid body control. Being able to catch the ball under the pressure of the defense is paramount to any wide receiver’s success especially when it comes down to the wire and/or time is running out.


Speed is a crucial part of the wide receiver’s arsenal. A good receiver should have high-level speed, acceleration, and footwork to evade defenders while running up the field. Functional speed also referred to as competitive speed in some circles, is the ability to get open, create space between defenders, and run away without getting tackled. Some players may be fast on the track but have difficulty performing during game day. Having a fast 100-meter speed is ideal, but being able to carry this quickness over to the field with pure athleticism is something that separates good receivers from the mediocre and average.

Play Execution

The ability to finish plays a key factor for any good wide receiver. They must run the correct route, evade defenders, catch the ball, secure it and get positive yards. One of the most successful wide receivers of all time who possesses this attribute is Marvin Harrison. Marvin Harrison, a National Football League (NFL) hall of fame, played 13 seasons for the Indianapolis Colts and left a legendary impact on the field. Marvin Harrison was great at executing plays, notably holding the record for the most receptions in a single season for 10 years before it was broken in 2019 by Michael Thomas. Marvin Harrison’s consistent execution is evident in his numerous accolades such as being the NFL receiving yards leader twice, three-time First Team All-Pro, and a Super Bowl Champion.


Wide receiver is arguably one of the critical positions on the field when playing football. This key player is responsible for getting open on the field, securely catching the ball, evading defenders, and accumulating positive yards. Wide receivers serve as targets for quarterbacks, another important player on offense. A diverse physical and mental attributes can make a wide receiver stand out from the pack. Some of these characteristics include having soft, sure hands, making the best use of functional speed, and the ability to execute plays when game day comes. A perfect example of an elite wide receiver who has all of these attributes and more is Marvin Harrison. Marvin set several records throughout 13 seasons, scoring the most