Cooper Kupp earns title as NFL’s best slot receiver entering 2022

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Cooper Kupp was viewed as a slot receiver when the Rams drafted him in 2017, appearing to lack the top-end speed and athleticism to win consistently outside. While it’s true that he’s not close to being the fastest receiver in football, he doesn’t need speed to get open.

He uses his route running and awareness to lose defenders, whether he starts in the slot or lines up on the boundary. But there’s no question he’s at his best when given room to work with out of the slot.

It’s why Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar named Kupp the best slot receiver in the NFL – and the numbers are there to back it up. According to Farrar, Kupp had the most slot receptions (117), yards (1,680) and touchdowns (12).

And he’s not just a system receiver who thrives because he plays in Sean McVay’s offense.

Some will discount Kupp’s value to the Rams by downplaying him as a product of Sean McVay’s system. It’s just as accurate — perhaps more accurate — to say that without Kupp, that system doesn’t work nearly as well. Kupp would be an amazing receiver (specifically, an amazing slot receiver) in any system, and just because he’s part of a team that maximizes his skill set, that doesn’t diminish the skill set overall.

It’s undeniably true that the Rams offense wouldn’t be the same without Kupp. He’s Matthew Stafford’s favorite target, and a very reliable one at that. When Stafford is under pressure, he knows to look for No. 10 because chances are, he’ll catch whatever is thrown his way.

And this past season, Kupp elevated his game to another level by running more downfield routes and catching more passes deep, rather than primarily running underneath and intermediate routes.