What Does A Wide Receiver Do In Football?

Football Wide Receiver

A wide receiver in football is a player on the offense who is tasked with catching the football thrown by the quarterback and sometimes running the ball. The wide receivers line up on the line of scrimmage outside of the offensive line. They make breaks downfield through open lanes and try to get open for a long pass.


On the snap, the wide receiver will almost always run downfield to catch a throw from the quarterback. Regardless of the play and formation, wide receivers always go out wide, which is how they get their name. They are constantly running and being used in plays, which is why they are some of the quickest runners on the team. In fact, they are usually the first players that the quarterbacks look to after receiving the snap. They work to outrun their defensive opponents and get themselves into good positions for receiving a pass.

When the ball is caught by a receiver, it is tallied as a reception. Receivers can also be given the ball in the backfield and rush downfield like a running back.

Wide receivers are put under a lot of stress when the defense's pressure is high. They should be excellent catchers, as their main role is to catch passes, no matter how difficult. Great wide receivers should withstand and power through any hits or blocks from defensive members.

Important Wide Receiver Skills

  • Agility
  • Body Control
  • Strength
  • Quickness
  • Soft Hands
  • Physical Stamina
  • Concentration/Focus
  • Hand-Eye Coordination

List of Famous Wide Receivers

There have been many strong wide receivers over the course of football history. Some of these famous players include:

  • Calvin Johnson
  • Lance Alworth
  • Marvin Harrison
  • Larry Fitzgerald
  • Cris Carter
  • Steve Largent
  • Terrell Owens
  • Randy Moss
  • Don Hutson
  • Jerry Rice


What skills do football wide receivers need?

While wide receivers need lots of skills to succeed on the football field, the three most important skills for them to have are speed, good hands, and the ability to run into open spaces. Speed comes in handy when running toward the end zone, either with the ball or on a route before catching the ball. Having good hands ensures that the wide receiver will confidently catch the ball when it is thrown to them. Lastly, wide receivers need to be able to find open spaces so that the quarterback can throw them the ball safely without a worry of being intercepted.

Who is the best NFL wide receiver of all time?

While this question may often be debated, the most common answer is Jerry Rice. Rice played wide receiver for four different NFL teams: the Denver Broncos, the Seattle Seahawks, the LAs Vegas Raiders, and the San Francisco 49ers. Over his career in the NFL, he was a Pro-Bowler 11 times and was named to First Team All-Pro 10 times. Also, he was able to lead the league twice in catches and six times in receiving yards and touchdowns. His awards and statistics show him to be easily one of the best wide receivers in NFL history, if not the best.