There's no doubting that this guy is explosive. He can plant and go like he was shot out of a gun. BOOM. I love it. And he has some wiggle. He's not purely a straightline runner. This has advantages because he's not like a David Clowney type, who all they can do is run straight down the field and hope that they can out run people. The Clowney guys can be easily accounted for with help over the top. Gates can push his route down field and then break it off. He can also be used in the screen game if you play off of him too much. And with his speed and his wiggle, he can do some damage on quick screens. And if he makes a guy miss... BOOM.
Now... do I really think that he can be like Victor Cruz? Yep. I do. Last year, Cruz was a vertical threat from the slot position. A nobody from nowhere who's frame didn't really cause any concern for anybody. He was a guy that worked the deep middle and used his speed and wiggle, along with his knack for playing bigger than his frame, to make plays. A lot of Cruz's success came from really good QB play, though. But Gates, working from the slot position, would be surrounded by enough weapons that he would be working solo a lot in the deep middle of the field. And if he makes a guy miss or breaks one tackle... BOOM.
Lets say its 2nd & 6 and we come out 3-wide with Hill wide left, Gates slot left, Keller in-line right, and Holmes wide right. There's a lot of fire power on our right side with Keller and Holmes, so you know that the safety to that side is going to be keyed in on that. Hill, rookie or not, is a big ahtletic speedster out wide to the left; you know that he's going to get some attention over the top. That basically leaves Gates in the deep middle against a nickel corner. The nobody from nowhere with the unimposing frame. Can't play him off covrage because its an easy first down pitch and catch with a simple out route. So the nickel will have to play Gates somewhat honestly. And with Gates' speed he should be able to climb up on a nickel in a flash and get him to flip his hips quickly and bascially have him at his mercy. And if the nickel squats too long... BOOM.
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