The slot receiver is one of the most versatile and dangerous positions in football. Traditionally, they’ve been smaller and stockier than the traditional wide receivers, but in recent years, this has changed. Today, slot receivers can line up just about anywhere on the field and they’re a key part of many offenses’ 3-1 receiver/back packages.
They’re also fast, able to make the most of their speed, and they can run routes and block well, making them an important cog in an offensive attack. While it’s not as necessary for them to be physical like some of the other wide receivers, they do need to be tough enough to absorb contact in the middle of the field and able to blow past defenders who aren’t accustomed to dealing with their size.
Slot receivers can be very dangerous on running plays, too. They’ll line up pre-snap between the last man on the line of scrimmage and the outside receiver, which gives them an opening for easy motions in the formation. This allows the quarterback to quickly hand off the ball to them or to pitch it in the direction of their pre-snap motion. They can then run down the field untouched and avoid getting hit by a defender’s best tackler, while taking advantage of open space on the other side of the field.
As a result, slot receivers have seen an increase in usage over the last decade or so, especially on teams that have more wide receivers and are more likely to use the 3-1 receiver/back package. Some of the NFL’s most dominant slot receivers include Tyreek Hill, Cole Beasley, Keenan Allen, Tyler Boyd, CeeDee Lamb, and Davante Adams.
These players have a lot of success catching short passes and juking their way to the end zone. They also have a good understanding of how the game works, which allows them to be on the same page with their quarterback and run accurate routes and timing plays.
This skill set is what allows them to be a great player, but it also takes a lot of practice and consistency. They also need to be able to read the defense and react quickly. This can be difficult for them to do, especially when they’re not used to it.
Often, slot receivers will be given the responsibility of blocking more than other wide receivers. This is because they’re lining up in the slot area, so their initial blocking may be more important to the success of running plays than the outside receivers’.
They’ll also be tasked with chipping and crack back blocking on defensive ends to help seal off the outside of the field. This makes them a vital part of the offensive line in blocking runs, especially on plays designed to run through the middle of the field.
The slot receiver is one of the most popular positions in the NFL today. It’s also a position that is a very lucrative one. In fact, slot receivers have accounted for nearly 40 percent of all passing attempts in the NFL over the past two seasons.