Commentary

These five have mastered the art of route running

It isn't just speed or schemes that allow receivers to get open. The art of route running is what separates the great receivers from the good ones, and these five players are the best at it.

Originally Published: October 22, 2008
By Keith Kidd | Scouts Inc.

It's a skill that too often gets overlooked too easily -- route running. But it isn't just speed or schemes that allow receivers to get open. The art of route running is what separates the great receivers from the good ones, and these five players are the best at it.

Top 5 Route Runners

No. Player
1. Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis
Wayne is one of the most driven players in the NFL at his position. He accelerates quickly into routes and has very good burst to get in and out of breaks. He creates separation with quick feet and good body control. He is a very well-rounded player who is usually on the same page with QB Peyton Manning.
2. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona
Fitzgerald has quickly become one of the elite receivers in the NFL. He has excellent size for the position and rare quickness, agility and body control for a big receiver. He runs crisp routes and knows how to get defenders leaning the wrong way before he makes his break.
3. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR, Cincinnati
Houshmandzadeh is intelligent in how he sets up defenders and sells specific routes. He isn't a blazer, but he continually gets separation due to his route-running ability. He is an ideal No. 2 receiver and is the player Carson Palmer looks to when he needs to make a play in a critical situation.
4. Greg Jennings, WR, Green Bay
Jennings has good body language in routes, with nice downfield setup when creating separation at the top of his stems. He displays an extra gear with good balance and control downfield. He has good quickness and change-of-direction skills to create a lot of separation between the ball and defenders. He is a good route-runner who has natural cutting ability.
5. Brandon Marshall, WR, Denver
Marshall has come a long way in learning how to read coverages and adjusting his routes as he moves down the field. He is very athletic with a good natural setup at break points. He is very natural as a route runner, with the quickness and explosion to get in and out of cuts for a big receiver.

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