A slot is a narrow notch, groove or opening, as in the keyway of a piece of machinery or a slit for a coin in a vending machine.
The slot receiver is one of the most important players in any NFL team’s passing game. He lines up in the area between the outside receivers and the tight end, and he can do just about anything when on the field.
Route Running: The main role of a slot receiver is to run routes that help confuse the defense. They must be able to run a wide variety of routes, and they must be very precise with their timing when they’re running them. This can take a lot of practice, and it’s important for them to have good chemistry with their quarterback, as well.
Blocking: Another important skill for slot receivers is their ability to block. They need to be able to perform the crack back block, as well as the chip block on defensive ends. They also need to be able to read the defense and know where their opponents are located on the field.
Speed: As a slot receiver, speed is more of a necessity than in other positions. They may have to elude tacklers and other defenders, so they need to be quick.
Chemistry: The best slot receivers have great chemistry with their quarterback. This is essential for them to be successful on the field, as they will need to be able to sync up with their quarterback when they’re running the ball or pitching it out.
Running Plays: The slot receiver is also an important part of a team’s running plays. He’s a key player on sweeps and slant runs. He’s a critical component to these runs, as he can seal off defenders on the outside of the field and keep them out of the way of the ball carrier.
Often, they’ll be called into pre-snap motion by the quarterback to help set up the running play and give the ball carrier extra time to get to the edge of the field. This allows the ball carrier to carry the ball over their head and into open space for a big gain.
In the NFL, a number of teams have slot receivers who are extremely effective at their role. These players are especially difficult to defend and can make a difference in the success of a team. Some of the top slot receivers in the league are Tyreek Hill, Cole Beasley, Keenan Allen, and Robert Woods.