The NFL's best slot receivers, No. 1: Doug Baldwin, Seahawks
When the Seahawks signed Baldwin to a four-year, $46 million extension with $24.5 million guaranteed on June 28, they did so knowing their top receiver might be a relative bargain in the long run. The undrafted star out of Stanford had a breakout season in 2015, leading the league with 14 touchdown catches. Twelve of those came from the slot, where Baldwin ran nearly 80% of his routes last season. Baldwin can do great things outside, but his skill set and mental approach lean perfectly to the slot position, where he can improvise openings with the best in the business. Baldwin’s greatest asset is his implicit understanding of the little things that separate good from great at the position. Watch him slow-play his route past coverage and then accelerate to the throw, or foot-fake a press defender into oblivion, or sell the wrong angle to take a cornerback out of the play, and you’ll understand why he’s so important to his team. He’s become a team leader, displaying toughness on and off the field, and he is absolutely fearless in traffic. Baldwin didn’t come into the NFL with any fanfare, but he’s doing his level best to make up for that now.