The slot is a position on the football field in which a wide receiver lines up pre-snap between the outside receiver and the tight end. The position got its name because of that location, but it’s much more than that. Those who are called “slot” receivers have specific skill sets that make them stand out from the rest of the wide receivers in the NFL.
They don’t have to deal with crushing blocks like offensive linemen, but they need to be able to position themselves well to act as a shield for the ball carrier on running plays. They also need to be fast and strong enough to break past defenders that are positioned in the slot to catch passes.
Their speed is especially helpful on slant, switch, and cross routes, which require them to move downfield quickly. Those are all routes that can take them away from the safety, so they need to be fast enough to avoid contact and keep moving downfield as the quarterback tries to get them open.
This type of receiver can be very dangerous when he’s in the slot, which is why teams often draft or sign them. They are also very talented at running long routes to get open underneath, and they are known for their ability to take a short pass and turn it into an easy first down.
These players are generally smaller than most wide receivers, but they can still be tall, especially if they have great hands. They can use their speed to run go routes, and they are usually very reliable in that role, so they receive a lot of targets.
They have excellent hands and can absorb a lot of contact, so they are highly versatile and can help an offense out if it needs a quick receiver to take a short throw and turn it into an easy first down or score.
A slot receiver can also be very good on a pitch play, reverse, or an end-around because they are often called into pre-snap motion to make sure they have time to run the route and catch the ball. This helps them avoid getting blitzed or taken out by the defensive line.
In the NFL, slot receivers are a hot commodity because they have a very specific skill set. They can do things that other wide receivers cannot, so they’re often used to boost the offense in key situations and allow the quarterback to be more comfortable with his decision making.
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