Slot receivers are a type of wide receiver that typically lines up pre-snap between the last man on the line of scrimmage (either the tight end or offensive tackle) and the outside receiver. The name of this position comes from its location on the field, and it is used much more frequently than other wide receiver positions in today’s NFL.
The Slot Receiver has a number of different skills and needs in order to succeed at this position. One of these is speed, as slot receivers must be able to run complex routes that involve elusion and evasion. Because they are not positioned as closely to the sideline as wide receivers, they must also be able to move quickly in order to avoid being hit.
Another important skill is the ability to block, as they are often asked to be the first to step up after the snap and seal off a defender who may try to rush them. They also need to be able to do this if a running play is designed to the outside part of the field.
These skills are crucial to a Slot receiver’s success, and they should be a focus for coaches. If a slot receiver is not blocking properly, they may be injured or even killed.
The slot receiver needs to be able to make difficult catches, so they must have strong hands and exceptional speed. They should also be able to run precise routes, as they’re often called to do so on passing plays.
They can also be called to carry the ball from time to time, and they need to be able to handle themselves in traffic. This is especially important on pitch plays, reverses, and end-arounds, where they are asked to move quickly after the quarterback has sent them in motion.
In addition to the skill set mentioned above, slot receivers need to be able to read defenses and know what they’re up against. This is because they are positioned near the middle of the field and are susceptible to big hits from different angles.
On running plays, the slot receiver needs to be able to block and chip defenders, as he is in an area on the field that is crucial for sweeps and slant runs to be successful. He will often need to do a crack back block on defensive ends, and he may be asked to pick up blitzes from outside linebackers or secondary players.
He will need to be able to move well in traffic, too, as slot receivers are often used on run plays that have the quarterback attempting to throw off a defender’s coverage. This is especially true on slant runs, where a slot receiver will need to be able to get behind the defense and be able to make a quick move in order to keep up with the runner and prevent them from breaking free.
The slot receiver should also be able to run all kinds of routes, as they are often given a variety of different ones on passing plays. They should be able to run them inside and outside, as well as short and deep. This will help them confuse the defense and gain the advantage on the play.