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Breaking down the Jacksonville Jaguars receiver position

The Jacksonville Jaguars have re-shaped their wide receiver group, but who fits where? Who is the X? Y? Z? What do those mean?

The Jacksonville Jaguars added wide receivers Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. It wasn't a surprise the Jaguars hit the receiver well twice, essentially spelling the end of Justin Blackmon's career in Jacksonville. It was a position that needed to be addressed and they addressed it in a big way, especially with the talk of a contract extension potentially in the works with veteran Cecil Shorts III.

But, where do these guys fit? Who is the elusive "X-receiver"? What does that even mean?

The X-receiver, the split end

The wide receiver position is generally referred to by letters, in the sense of X, Y and Z on a play. Most people however have no idea what these mean. Typically for a team, the X-receiver is the go-to guy, the No. 1 receiver. The X-receiver is the "split end", the receiver lined up the widest on the offense. He's on the line of scrimmage and does not go in motion. This means that the X-receiver is going to need to be someone who can not only run the full route tree in an offense, but also someone who can beat press coverage and not get jammed at the line of scrimmage. He needs to essentially be a "do everything" receiver, having the ability to get deep, get separation, make contested catches and beat press coverage.

Of the receivers on the roster, second-round pick Allen Robinson would seem to fit this profile the best.

The Z-receiver, the flanker

Opposite the X-receiver in a typical formation is the Z-receiver, or what's commonly referred to as the "flanker". This is the wide receiver you typically see go in motion before the snap. This is also typically the wide receiver that is off the line of scrimmage, which enables the tight end to be an eligible receiver. Z-receivers do not typically face press coverage as much as the X-receiver and generally are smaller, quicker fast players.

Of the receivers on the roster, second-round pick Marqise Lee and veteran Cecil Shorts III would seem to be the best fits at the flanker position.

The Y-receiver, the slot receiver

The Y-receiver, or more commonly referred to as the "slot" receiver isn't always a receiver. In certain personnel formations the Y-receiver is a tight end, but for the sake of this explainer the Y-receiver is going to be the receiver lining up in the slot position, which is typically off the line of scrimmage between the tight end and the Z-receiver or between the offensive tackle and the X-receiver. Slot receivers are similar to the Z-receiver in that they're normally quicker, faster type players who work over the middle of the field and down the seam.

Of the receivers on the roster, second-round pick Marqise Lee, veteran Cecil Shorts III, and veteran Ace Sanders would seem to be the best fits at the slot position.