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The goals of wide receiver ‘stacking,’ explained

NFC Divisional Playoffs - New York Giants v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

The term ‘stacking’ or ‘stack’ is often associated with wide receivers upon their release off the line of scrimmage. Stacking is a means for WRs to create easy vertical separation.

A wide receiver looks to stack a cornerback upon gaining leverage off their release. Stacking is when the receiver gains access behind the cornerback, creating a clear throwing window over the shoulder of the wide receiver. With the right touch, a good quarterback can place the football over the top of the receiver, and the cornerback will have little to no chance of disrupting the pass.

The two primary goals of stacking are:

  1. Obtain vertical leverage against the CB
  2. Make an easier throw for the QB

Stacking also helps wide receiverss with separation, for the cornerback is in a disadvantageous position. Of recent New York Giants receivers, Darius Slayton has successfully stacked several cornerbacks.

Slayton successfully stacked the cornerbak at the top of the screen in the Giants’ primetime Week 2 matchup versus Washington in 2021. He used his hands to avoid the jam, released to the outside with an inside jab and created an accessible throwing window for Daniel Jones.

Here is a play from his second season against the Eagles. Slayton - at the top of the screen - released outside, noticed the cornerback’s leverage, stuttered his feet (double move) to gain extra vertical separation, and successfully stacked. Daniel Jones was hit low as he threw, but better circumstances would have yielded a touchdown for Slayton.

A good release package, initial quickness, and overall speed are contributing factors that help WRs stack CBs to provide easier throws for their quarterbacks.