If you’re a fan of football, chances are that you’ve heard the term “slot” in reference to an important position on any given team. The slot is the receiver that lines up a few yards off of the line of scrimmage between a tight end or an outside wide receiver. In the past decade, offenses have come to rely more and more on this position, especially in today’s pass-happy game. In fact, without a strong slot receiver on your team, it’s almost impossible to run any kind of successful offense.
While many players will receive the title of slot receiver, there are some that really earn it based on their skill set. These are the guys that can do things that other wideouts cannot, making them a very valuable part of the offense. They have the speed to fly past the secondary, usually the safety, when running a go route, and they have reliable hands to catch the ball with. Generally speaking, the better the slot receiver is at what they do, the more time and targets they will get.
In addition to their unique skillset, slot receivers also have a very distinct look from the other types of receivers on a team. They are typically shorter, stockier and tougher than their outside counterparts. In some cases, they even resemble running backs. This is a necessity because these players have to be very good blockers as well as excellent route runners in order to do their jobs effectively.
A good Slot receiver will be able to quickly read the defensive coverage and make adjustments as needed. Their ability to be on the same page as the quarterback is crucial in order to make any type of play. Depending on the situation, they can either help seal off the outside defense or act as a decoy to draw attention away from other players on the play.
Another reason that Slot receivers are very valuable is because they can block on running plays as well. In this case, they will be responsible for blocking (or chipping) nickelbacks, outside linebackers and safeties, and they may even need to perform a full back block on defensive ends. This is all in addition to the other responsibilities that they have when it comes to catching the ball.
Finally, Slot receivers are often very versatile and can line up in a number of different positions. They can be positioned out in the flats, they can run short routes out of the slot and they can even be used on deep patterns. This versatility is essential to helping the offense stretch out the field and attack all three levels of the defense. Slot receivers are a key cog in the offense and should never be overlooked when evaluating any team.