The slot is a position in football where a wide receiver lines up on the weak side of the field a few steps off the line of scrimmage. These receivers are typically shorter and faster than their outside counterparts. Their unique skill sets have allowed them to thrive in recent years as teams have shifted to more wide open formations. Here’s what you need to know about the slot.
Like all wide receivers, a slot player needs to be agile and fast. They also need to have good hands and route-running skills. However, because they are typically a little smaller and quicker than outside receivers, they need to be especially precise in their route running. They must be able to run both inside and outside routes, as well as deep and short routes.
In addition to their passing ability, a slot receiver must be a solid blocker. Because they are so close to the center of the field, they need to be able to absorb contact and prevent defenders from tackling the ball carrier. They also need to be able to chip defensive backs on running plays that go to the outside part of the field. On some running plays, such as end-arounds and pitch plays, a slot receiver may even act as the ball carrier themselves.
While the NFL has seen a rise in the popularity of the slot, it’s not a new concept. In fact, it’s been around since the 1960s when Al Davis began using the position on a regular basis for the Oakland Raiders. Slot was designed to give the team a second receiver that could attack all three levels of the defense. This would help them counter the strong safety and cornerbacks that most teams use to defend against the spread offenses that have become commonplace in the league today.
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Although many teams have at least one slot receiver on their roster, some utilize the position more than others. For example, some of the top receivers in the league this season are Tyreek Hill, Cole Beasley, and Keenan Allen. They are all great examples of how effective the slot can be when it’s utilized correctly. In the future, more teams will likely begin utilizing this unique position more often as they continue to try to outgun their opponents. By utilizing the slot effectively, these receivers can create huge mismatches that are nearly impossible to defend. This makes them one of the most valuable pieces of any offense.