The slot receiver is a wide receiver that lines up on the side of the field a few steps off the line of scrimmage. Usually, slot receivers are shorter and stockier than outside wide receivers, but they also have superior speed and route-running skills.
They are a popular and effective player in the NFL today, especially for teams that have strong passing offenses. Some of the most famous slot receivers include Tyreek Hill, Brandin Cooks, and Cooper Kupp, but many other players thrive in this position, too.
Slot receivers are a valuable asset to any team, because they can stretch the defense vertically and help with the catch and run game. They also can pick up blitzes from defenders and provide protection on outside runs, giving the running back more room.
A slot receiver needs to have good chemistry with the quarterback, and they need to be aware of where the other defenders are on the field. They need to know which defenders will be where and when they need to move to get open for the ball.
These guys have to be able to block effectively, too, because they don’t have the space of a traditional wide receiver or tight end. They need to be able to protect against blitzes from linebackers and secondary players, as well as run a lot of the shorter routes on the routes tree.
Some of these guys may be called into pre-snap motion by the quarterback, too, so they’ll have to be able to time their movement well and be in the right place at the right time to get open. They also have to be able to run quick outs, pitch plays, and reverses — all of which require a lot of speed and coordination.
Unlike outside wide receivers, slot receivers can carry the ball from time to time, too. This is often done for pitch plays, reverses, and end-arounds.
They can also be called into pre-snap to block for the running back and wideout on certain runs. This is something that can be tricky for them, so it’s important for them to be able to do it well.
There are also some slots where they’re not asked to run the ball, but instead act as a blocker on inside or out runs. This can be useful when they have no fullback or tight end on the play and the quarterback isn’t sure where to send the ball to.
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