Often overlooked, but vital for any offense in the NFL today, the slot receiver is a versatile and reliable option for the quarterback. A quality slot receiver allows the quarterback to stretch out the field and attack all three levels of the defense, while also giving the offense an extra blocker when running the ball outside.
Slot receivers were once a largely unheralded part of the offensive game plan, used primarily during three-receiver sets during the early 1960s. However, they’ve become a must-have on every team’s depth chart.
How They Fit the Game
A slot receiver is usually a little shorter and smaller than an outside wide receiver. This makes it easier for them to run precise routes, which is critical for their success in this role.
They’re also a lot faster than outside receivers, which helps them fly past defenders on go routes and short passes. This makes them an ideal match for the nifty slot-area formation that Al Davis developed in 1963.
How They Play
The slot receiver typically lines up slightly in the backfield, a few steps off the line of scrimmage, which provides them with more space and options. This allows them to do things that outside receivers cannot, such as catching the ball in tight spaces and picking up passes in the secondary.
Their strong suits are:
Speed and Hands
Slot receivers need to have great hands and speed in order to run the slot area well. Their speed can help them fly past a secondary and get open on the go route, while their hands are crucial for absorbing contact and catching the ball in tight spaces.
What They Run
The Slot receiver will usually run just about any route a quarterback throws at him. This is because they line up a few steps off the line of a scrimmage, making it possible for them to run just about any route that the quarterback might call. They’ll usually use their speed to help them get open and their hands to pick up the ball, allowing them to be a huge asset for the offense.
What They Do
The slot receiver is a versatile player who can play a wide variety of positions. They can catch the ball in tight spaces, run with it, or even make a play by blocking. They can also make a play in the secondary by picking up an opposing defender who has broken through the line of scrimmage.
What They Do
In addition to being a talented wide receiver, the slot receiver is a valuable teammate. This is because they can fill in for an injured wideout, helping to keep the team on the field and keeping the quarterback fresh.
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