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NFL Draft Terminology Guide

If you are not a draft junky (or you just speak regular English), you may find yourself needing subtitles during this weekend's draft. Fear not, the CJ staff has provided you the NFL Draft Terminology Guide so you do not need to feel nervous about watching the draft and sounding like an idiot when you don't understand the words coming from the announcers mouths.

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If you are not a draft junky like myself (or you just speak regular English), you may find yourself needing subtitles during this weekend's draft. Fear not, the CJ staff has provided you the NFL Draft Terminology Guide so you do not need to feel nervous about watching the draft and sounding like an idiot when you don't understand the words coming from the announcers mouths.

Rest easy folks! With this guide at your fingertips, even the most novice draft watcher can follow the nonsensical BS slingin lingo that the "draft experts" will be throwing around this weekend....we will also point out  the subtle racial profiling that goes on during the draft coverage through the use of these terms - speaking of which, while watching, be sure to note how all black QBs are compared to other black QBs, white WRs are compared only to other white WRs, and all black QBs are labeled as "having the ability to run the read option" - i.e. Geno Smith was discussed as a read option -RGIII type - QB - despite only having 343 yards rushing (total) over a 4 year career - or 1.4 yards per carry!).

So, without further adieu, I present you:

The CJ NFL Draft Terminology Guide


A player that has great athletic talent, but generally sucks at football.

Profile: This is a designation that is used for players who are very athletic (duh) but it doesn't translate well onto a football field.

Example: Jerome Simpson

Best Available

Not necessarily a great player (though he can be), but he is better than the players that are left.

Profile: n/a

Example: n/a

Big Arm

This is not a reference to that actual size of the guys arm. No, this is in reference to how far and hard a QB can throw the ball.

Profile: A QB that can throw the ball very far and hard; the exact opposite of Jon Kitna

Example: Matthew Stafford

Boom or Bust

The "Forest Gump - Box ‘O Chocolates" of draft picks. The guy might be great, or he may suck, and not much in between.

Profile: A player with one standout year at college.

Example: Boom - Cam Newton; Bust - Akili Smith

Can't Miss Prospect

A guy the "experts" think will be a star and has approximately 0 chances of sucking.

Profile: This is a guy that has had consistent success at the college level and fits every stereotype for the position he plays (size, speed, strength, knowledge, etc)

Example: Andrew Luck


A smart player.

Profile: A player whose physical tools are not impressive, but is a great player because of his knowledge of the game.

Example: Wes Welker, and to a certain extent, Tom Brady and the Manning Brothers

Change of Pace Back

A fast RB that shares time with a bigger, more powerful RB.

Profile: A fast RB who does not play all the time. Though technically a big and powerful RB could be considered a Change of Pace Back if the starter was small and fast (i.e. Jerome Bettis to Willie Parker), the Powers that Be who determine how the terms are to be used have saved this one strictly for the fast RB.

Example: Darren Sproles

Cover Corner

This one is redundant. A CBs job is to cover a receiver. If the guy is not a cover corner, I would suggest not drafting him.

Profile: Every CB who ever played the game right.

Example: n/a

Deceptively Fast/Quick/Athletic

This is one of my all-time favorites because it is draft profiling at its' finest - the player's skill they are about to describe is "deceptive" because he doesn't fit the profile of that term.

Profile: Any time the term "Deceptive" is attached to another term, it generally means the player is white - and his speed, quicks or athleticism is deceptive....because he is white.

Example: Wes Welker is "deceptively" quick. Jordy Nelson has "deceptive" speed. JJ Watt is "deceptively" athletic.

Downhill Runner

A RB who runs straight ahead and does not do much shifting from side to side. I would like to meet an Uphill Runner. I would assume an Uphill Runner has very powerful legs!

Profile: Powerful RBs that run straight ahead.

Example: Jerome Bettis

Every-Down Player

A guy who does not have to come off the field in certain situations.

Profile: Hopefully most players.

Example: 95% of the NFL

Fluid Hips

One might think someone with fluid hips may have troubles holding up on a football field. Clearly they would be wrong. This is a guy that can turn from front to back (and vise versa) very quickly and in one fluid motion.

Profile: Good DBs.

Example: I am sure Deion Sanders had very fluid hips.

Football IQ

This is a guy that knows the game of football very well...this is generally a guy that gets little credit for their athletic ability.

Profile: Because this is a player whose athleticism is generally being downplayed, this is a term often used to describe a white player.

Example: Clay Matthews

Football Player

This is a great one popularized by Jon Gruden and apparently signifies a guy that seems to love the game. One would think if the guy is not a "Football Player" you would not want said guy on your team.

Profile: Good player who does the little things needed to win.

Example: Russell Wilson

Franchise Quarterback

A QB that is worthy of big time money and is worthwhile building your franchise around.

Profile: A QB with Super Bowl expectations.

Example: Tom Brady


A guy that has the speed and body control of a small guy, but in a big man's body.

Profile: Usually a defensive end that is big yet runs incredibly fast. This is a term generally reserved for a black player. A white player of this mold is a High Motor guy (JJ Watt).

Example: Javon Kearse

Good Anticipation

This player seems to know what will happen a moment before it actually happens.

Profile: A guy that takes chances, but rarely gets burned by the chances.

Example: Ed Reed

Good at the Point of Contact

Not really sure what the hell this one means, nor do I believe those that use it know what the hell it means. I suppose it means the a defensive guy fights off blocks and tackles well and an offensive guy breaks tackles well.

Profile: Any successful defensive or offensive player ever.

Example: I am pretty sure Ray Lewis was pretty good at the Point of Contact

Good Ball Skills

This is not a guy that can spin a football on one finger Harlem Globe Trotter style. This apparently means a guy is good at catching the football, aka "Good Hands"

Profile: A WR or DB who is talented at catching the football.

Example: Randy Moss

Good Base

A guy that keeps his feet wide, therefore keeping his balance.

Profile: Generally used in reference to OL or DL. Guys without Good Bases do not last long in the NFL.

Example: Geno Atkins seems to have a wonderful base.

Good Between the Tackles

A RB that runs well up the middle of the field.

Profile: A powerful "downhill runner." This RB is often times paired with the ever popular "change of pace back"...though not always (see example below).

Example: Adrian Peterson

Good Hands

A guy that does not drop passes.

Profile: A WR who actually does what he is paid to do, catch the ball.

Example: AJ Green

Good Intangibles

A guy that is not necessarily the best player, but finds a way to win or get the job done.

Profile: This is more often than not a term saved for the white player and often times accompanies the High Motor.

Example: Tim Tebow

Good Leverage

A player that bends at the knees and stays lower than his opponent.

Profile: Usually a defensive player or OL. Players without the "good leverage" designation are those you normally see laying on their back.

Example: Geno Atkins

Good Locker Room Guy

This is a guy that is a good leader and an easy player to coach. A hard working guy that takes responsibility and has the ability to lead.

Profile: Team captains.

Example: Peyton Manning

Good/Low Pad Level

This is one of my all-time favorites. A close cousin to the "Good Leverage" designation. A guy that bends his knees, plays low, and is hard to tackle (as an offensive player) or a good tackler (as a defensive player).

Profile: This is a designation saved mostly for RBs and defensive players.

Example: Emmitt Smith had excellent pad level.

Good in Space

What guy isn't good in space? If the game of football was played in open space, everyone would have a shot at being an NFL player. This is a guy that does well in the middle of the field with no script to follow.

Profile: Generally a slot WR that can make big plays off of short throws.

Example: Wes Welker is "Great in Space."


This is a guy that does the dirty work. Doesn't look pretty, but gets the job done.

Profile: Usually an offensive lineman - generally a white OL. Rarely is this term used for a black player - a black player with these skills is an "Athlete" or "Instinctive."

Example: Alan Faneca

Heavy Hands

Makes 0 sense. Apparently this means the guy blocks (or fights off blocks well).

Profile: A good lineman (OL or DL).

Example: Orlando Pace had very heavy hands

High Character Guy

Close relative of the "Good Locker Room Guy." Means the guy has never been arrested.

Profile: This is a designation usually saved for a black player that is nice and hasn't been arrested. Essentially the equivalent to the "Good Locker Room Guy" but for a black player.

Example: RGIII is a "High Character Guy" that is very close to being a "Good Locker Room Guy!"

High Football IQ

Apparently this is a designation for players who are not stupid.

Profile: This can be any player but linemen. Linemen are rarely, if ever, referred to as "High Football IQ" guys...even though OL players are usually very "High IQ."

Example: Peyton Manning

High Motor

Probably my favorite. This is a guy that tries hard and seemingly gets more out of his body than is expected.

Profile: A white player that does not get credit for being athletic. His playmaking ability is attributed to his "no quit" attitude, not his athletic ability. This is the white equivalent of the "Freak" or "Athletic" designation. Therefore, players cannot be a High Motor Freak or High Motor Athlete...unless maybe they were mixed (ala Blake Griffin).

Example: Justin Smith, Clay Matthews and JJ Watt are all-time "High Motor" guys.

High Upside/Ceiling

A guy that has great "measurables" but has underperformed, yet shown flashes of greatness.

Profile: Often times a small school guy that has flown under the radar.

Example: Jason Pierre Paul

Intriguing Prospect

Means the analyst doesn't know shit about how good the player is. May be good, may be a waste of a pick. A player that your eyes like, but your mind says to avoid.

Profile: A player who should be good, but has never shown the ability to match his potential.

Example: Ezekial Ansah

Lacks Speed for the Next Level/Elite Level Speed

A slow player.

Profile: A player that was extremely productive at the college level, but the scouts just can't explain his success due to his "Measurables." This is usually a designation for a white player (though Jerry Rice was in this category).

Example: Not sure if Jordy Nelson fell into this category, but he likely did.


The measurements (height, weight, hand size), speed, and strength of a player.

Profile: n/a

Example: n/a

North South Runner

A cousin of the "Downhill Runner" and close relative to the "Between the Tackle Runner." This is a RB that runs straight ahead and does not make many lateral moves.

Profile: A 4 yards and a cloud of dust type RB.

Example: Mike Alstott


A guy that makes a lot of big plays.

Profile: On offense, this is usually a small and quick WR or RB. On defense this is a guy that forces or recovers a lot of turnovers.

Example: Percy Harvin

Possession Receiver

A WR that has good hands and runs a lot of shorter routes over the middle.

Profile: A big WR that does not have a lot of speed, but does have good hands.

Example: TJ Houshmanzedah

Plug and Play

Not a video game. No. This a player that can immediately start on an NFL football team.

Profile: Usually a 3 or 4 year starter at the college level with consistent and impressive stats.

Example:  Andrew Luck


A player that sucks but 'might' get better.

Profile: A player with great god given talents and "measurables" who sucks at football and will be out of the league and broke in 2 years.

Example: JaMarcus Russell


A player with great "measurables" who has not played much football but has a "High Ceiling."

Profile: A "Freak" "Athlete" with great "measurables" and a "High Ceiling."

Example: Jason Pierre Paul

Pure Corner

Another term with little to know true meaning. This is apparently a guy that fits exactly what "experts" think a CB should be (whatever that is).

Profile: Usually a very athletic and natural CB with "Good Ball Skills."

Example: Darrelle Revis

Quicker Than he is Fast

This term is tied to its' cousin "Shifty." A guy that is very quick, but not overly fast in long straight lines.

Profile: Small RBs and WRs that are very quick.

Example: Wes Welker

Raw Talent

I football player that is a "Freak" or "Athlete" but has barely played football.

Profile: As you may guess from the "Freak" or "Athlete" designation, this is generally a term reserved for a black player.

Example: Ziggy Ansah


This is a guy that is picked before some ESPN announcer thinks he should be picked.

Profile: Usually a very good and productive player that is not flashy, but does what you want a player of his position to do. This player also plays a position the team who drafts him needs help at.

Example: Levi Jones

Read Option-Type Quarterback

The Read Option is a type of offense that requires the QB to handoff (or fake a handoff) on most every play and then decide to either make the handoff, run himself, or throw based off how he reads the defense.

Profile: This is an "Athletic" QB and though a few white QBs run this (Tebow, Johnny Football, etc), this is a designation generally reserved for black QBs. In fact, almost all black QBs are given this designation even if running is not part of their game (see Geno Smith).

Example: RGIII

Runs Behind His Pads

Another catchy phrase some analyst invented. I would like to see the guy who does not "Run Behind his Pads!" In fact, I don't know what the hell this means and neither does the person using it.

Profile: Any guy that plays football and knows how to properly put on his pads.

Example:  n/a

Run Stuffer

A player that is good at occupying blocks and clogging up the running lanes for a RB. This one actually makes some sense.

Profile: A very large man that plays on the DL.

Example:  Sam Adams (pre Cincinnati days)

Second Gear

A guy that is fast and hard to catch. This is a strictly offensive player. According to those privileged enough to use this one, a defensive player does not have this gear...unless he gets the ball in his hands (via turnover or as a returner), at which time, he may have that "Second Gear."

Profile: A very fast player with the ball in his hands.

Example:  Mike Wallace


A guy that can make hard cuts, lateral moves, and is very hard to tackle. Often times these players are "Quicker Than They are Fast."

Profile: Small RBs and WRs that are "Good in Space."

Example: Andrew Hawkins

Shutdown Corner

A CB that is so good he can keep a team's best WR from making any plays. In fact, teams rarely even throw to the WR covered by this guy.

Profile: Dominant CB who rarely sees the ball thrown to the player he is covering.

Example:  Deion Sanders


A guy that is good, but not many people have heard of.

Profile: This is a good player that has not been discussed much in the media...often times because many in the media have never seen him

Example:  Terrell Owens

Stiff Hips

Sounds like a problem an old person has. Refers to a players ability to transition from running backwards to forwards (and vice versa) and is a damning label for a DB.

Profile: Defensive backs that will spend their short careers chasing down players that blow by them.

Example:  Rod Jones (Bengals CB in the mid ‘90s)

Stretch the Defense

The sibling of "Taking the Top Off the Defense." This refers to a fast WR or TE that causes the safeties to have to play very deep, opening up the middle of the field.

Profile: A speedy WR that usually just runs straight down the field.

Example: Randy Moss, Willie Gault, Alvin Harper, Mike Wallace

Sure Thing

This is a guy the "Experts" claim has 0 risk and will most certainly be good. The equivalent of "Can't Miss."

Profile: A guy with a long, impressive, and consistent college track record.

Example:  John Elway

Take the Top Off the Defense

A clever, yet stupid, way of saying a guy is very fast and can "Stretch the Defense."

Profile: Very fast WR.

Example: Randy Moss, Willie Gault, Alvin Harper, Mike Wallace

Tremendous Upside

A guy that has never done anything good, but the "Experts" think he "should" be good.

Profile: A player that has accomplished very little but has good "Measurables."

Example: Vernon Gholson

Trust Your Board

This is not a term used to describe a player, but rather a team's drafting strategy. Prior to the draft, teams rank players on a "Board" and this theory of drafting has the team drafting the highest player left on their "Board" and not going out on a limb to pick someone else. Often times teamed up with the "Best Available" discussion.


A guy that is a good player, but doesn't quite fit the stereotype for any position.

Profile: A player that is seen as too small for one position, yet too big for another. Coaches do not know where to play him, and therefore he normally sucks at both positions.

Example: Reinard Wilson

Value Pick

A player that is still available to be picked when many thought he would not be.

Profile: This is a player that has been passed by a lot of teams due to either injury, character concerns, or poor drafting by other teams.

Example: Aaron Rodgers


This is a player that does a lot of things good and is oftentimes used in a number of different roles.

Profile: A very good "Athlete" and sometimes even a "Freak." Due to the "Athlete" and "Freak" designations, this is most often a black player. Rarely are "High Motor" guys "Versatile," they are "Grinders" instead.

Example: Charles Woodson, Champ Bailey, Rod Woodson

Waist Bender

No, this is not a sexual reference. This is a negative connotation. This is player does not have "Good Pad Level" and suffers from poor "Leverage." This player stands up too straight and bends at the waist rather than the knees.

Profile: Usually an OL that really sucks.

Example: Daniel Coates (former Bengals backup TE) was quite the "Waist Bender."

Wes Welker Type

One of my all-time favorites! A WR that is not physically imposing or athletically gifted, but has "Good Hands," is a "Good Route Runner," and is generally perceived to be a "Possession Receiver."

Profile: This is a WR that reminds the analysts of Wes  reminds them of Wes Welker, I mean he is simply a white WR. The guy could be 6'4", 220 lbs, and run a 4.3 40 yard dash, but if he was white, he would not remind the analysts of Andre Johnson, he would be a "Wes Welker Type"

Example: Jordan Shipley, Julian Edelman, Kevin Walters, Ryan Whalen, Brandon Stokely, Eric Decker, etc.


A guy that does not impress you when watching him, but seems to always win. This player is rarely fully appreciated.

Profile: A player that does not do anything particularly well, oftentimes looks odd doing things, but seems to "Just Win Baby."

Example: Brett Favre, Tim Tebow

Works Well in Space

Who doesn't? This term is synonymous with "Shifty" and "Quicker than Fast." These are guys that turn short plays into long plays.

Profile: Players that are very hard to tackle and have a knack for turning short plays into long plays.

Example: Percy Harvin

Workout Warrior

A guy that is a physical specimen and looks great at the beach.

Profile: A guy that sucks at football but can run fast, lift heavy weights, jump really high, and looks like they were chiseled out of marble. This player is generally drafted very high by teams that are very poor at identifying talent (Jets).

Example: Vernon Gholson