There are several different football terms for the receiver. Some of the terms depend on where the player lines up on the field, while others act as descriptions of the playing styles of different players. Here is a list of football terms for a receiver:
Wide Receiver: This is the most common of the different football terms for a receiver. The term encompasses all of the players whose primary purpose on the football team is to catch passes from the quarterback. While a running back or a tight end will often catch passes, they are also responsible for rushing the football and blocking, respectively. The receiver's primary purpose is to receive passes and any blocking or rushing responsibilities are secondary aspects of his skill set.
Slot Receiver: The slot receiver is a wide receiver that lines up closer to the offensive line than other wide receivers, and start a yard behind the line scrimmage. The slot receiver usually runs shorter routes such as quick outs and slants. Since his routes are shorter and he starts each play relatively close to the quarterback, plays involving a split end tend to happen quickly and thus the quarterback can deliver the ball faster.
Wide-out: Some commentators use the term wideout synonymously with wide receiver. At other times, the term refers to those wide receivers who line up wide-or far from the offensive line. From this position they have fewer defenders directly between them and the opponents end zone, so they tend to run deeper routes.
Split-end: This is another term that some commentators use to refer to all wide receivers. However, it is more common for this term to refer to those wide receivers who line up wider than slot receivers.
Deep Receiver: A deep receiver is a receiver whose style lends itself to running routes deep down the field, such as post, corner and go routes. As a result, deep receivers tend to be fast players who can use their speed to get behind the defense. Usually a deep receiver is a wide-out (or split-end), although it is possible for a slot receiver to be a deep receiver if he is fast enough and gets enough opportunities to run deep routes.
Possession Receiver: A possession receiver is any wide receiver whose style and skill set lends itself to shorter routes, such as slants, quick outs, and hooks. These receivers are usually either very small and quick, thus allowing them to make the sharp cuts that shorter routes require, or they are larger receivers who can use their size and strength to fight off defenders. A lot of slot receivers have a style of play that characterizes them as possession receivers, though many split ends also warrant the designation. The term refers to the player's tendency to catch passes that advance the ball down the field in small chunks, thus allowing the team to maintain possession for a longer period of time.
Several different football terms for the receiver can refer to a single player at different moments. Many receivers will line up at both split end and in the slot at different times during the game. Also, players who are not wide-outs, such as tight ends and running backs, can line up as split ends and as slot receivers. They are still not wide receivers, though, since that term refers to a players' general role on the team, rather than his role on a single play.