There is a jargon used in scouting NFL players, and you will see a lot of this with both free agency and the draft looming closer. Although quite of few of you know all these terms, some readers may not. Here is the list of terms that you will come accustomed to when reading scouting reports.
The term anchor mainly refers to offensive linemen. Usually when a defensive linemen is bull-rushing can the offensive lineman plant his feet and prevent the defender from getting any more push. Typically this a huge for interior linemen. Zack Martin is exceptional at anchoring when dealing with a bull-rusher.
This is in reference to defensive backs. Doing this allows the cornerback to keep his eyes on both the receiver and quarterback. This becomes increasingly important when trying to recognizing run verses pass.
This can apply to both offensive and defensive players. Does the receiver or secondary player react to the ball in the air? Does the receiver go after the ball at its highest point? Does the cornerback intercept the ball or knock it to the ground?
Bend is a term you will hear or read of often when it comes to edge rushers. You will see this when the defensive end is attempting to get by an offensive tackle with a speed rush. His bend allows him to get around the offensive tackle. This is something that DeMarcus Ware did very well for the Cowboys.
This is a negative term for a wide receiver. This means allowing the ball to come into your body to make the catch. Body catching at times can prevent a player from catching the ball in stride and picking up yards after the catch. At times Terrance Williams has been guilty of this habit.
The bull rush is the most common move for a defensive linemen. This requires the rusher to get his arms extended on the linemen and drive his legs. Tyrone Crawford uses the bull rush against interior linemen with plenty of success.
This is purely a numbers term. It deals with the length, height and leaping distance to catch the ball. Dez Bryant has a huge catch radius which allows him to make some spectacular catches.
The term center fielder and ball hawk are usually synonymous with each other. Usually a safety that is a center fielder has great range to get sideline to sideline to assist in coverage. If he has any ball skills he will knock the ball away or come away with the interception.
Offensive linemen usually will use a cut block tactic on running plays to immediately take a defender out of a play. This is illegal if an offensive player is already engaged with a defender.
When a defender is 'engaged' in a block it is simply the ability to get off the block. Another term you will see used is shed. Shedding a block means to disengage from the offensive player attempting to block him.
A player that shows flashes is very inconsistent. He shows flashes of greatness but may appear to take other plays off.
This term is used with describing how well a prospect changes direction. This applies to players on both sides of the ball. This is increasingly important among linebackers and secondary players.
This term is used for defensive linemen who have either a one-gap or two-gap responsibilities.
This is an quarterback only term. A gunslinger takes risks when trying to get the ball to his receivers. Usually the quarterback will throw into tight windows or double and triple coverage. Tony Romo and Brett Favre are the two gunslingers that immediately come to mind.
This is the complete opposite of a body catcher. A wide receiver that is a hands catcher will get his hands away from the body to extend and make a catch. This helps a quarterback get the ball in front of the receiver to let him catch it in stride.
This term is used for quarterbacks and receivers. For quarterbacks, it means he will leave a clean pocket and look to run the ball to extend the play. The passer thinks he hears the pocket collapsing around him and usually a sign that he doesn't have much faith in his offensive line. For receivers, it usually refers to going over the middle to make a catch, but pulling up short on the ball because the player thinks they "hear the footsteps" of an approaching defender.
A kick slide is a move that offensive tackles use to meet an edge rusher. A good kick slide can prevent an edge rusher from bending to get to the quarterback if he can square the defender up.
A player would a good motor doesn't give up on a play. Usually you will notice a defender with a good motor having good backside pursuit.
A project player is someone who doesn't have all the refinement of other prospects. Reference to a player as a project means they have the potential to be a great pro but have only shown flashes of greatness.
This is a term used for offensive lineman. A lineman with a good punch usually uses their hands well to knock a defender off his balance or to knock him back.
A defender will use a rip move to get insider a blocker. The rusher will get his shoulder into the body of an offensive lineman and lift their arm to rip upwards to get his arms out of the way most likely causing him to lose balance. This gives the pass rusher the upper hand.