Slot is the term for a wide receiver position 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. Historically, this has been a position that was mainly used by college football teams but is starting to see more use in the NFL.
Generally, slot receivers can be considered the second-most versatile wide receiver on an offense as they are often called upon to make big plays or to block. They are also known for their speed and ability to run complex routes.
Some of the best slot receivers in the NFL have recorded over 700 receiving yards and multiple touchdowns from the slot. Here are some examples:
Tyler Boyd 71 receptions, 781 yards and 4 touchdowns
Cooper Kupp 68 receptions, 742 yards and 2 touchdowns
CeeDee Lamb 67 receptions, 909 yards and 5 touchdowns
Justin Jefferson 51 receptions, 882 yards and 3 touchdowns
Davante Adams 75 receptions, 788 yards and 9 touchdowns
The slot is also an extremely important part of the blocking game. Slot receivers will often line up near a nickelback or outside linebacker on running plays, and it’s their responsibility to seal off the outside on such plays.
They will also chip or crack back blocks on defensive ends on plays designed to the outside area of the field. Lastly, they can be asked to fill in for the fullback or a tight end on short, quick-snap plays.
In fact, slot receivers have become so important in recent years that it has been reported that the amount of slot receivers on the field has increased dramatically over the past decade.
This is in part because of the increasing popularity of the three-receiver and four-receiver alignments that have been commonplace on many NFL rosters over the past few seasons. This has allowed teams to add more athletes in space while not losing the versatility of having more receivers.
But while these slot receivers are more versatile than their predecessors, they still need to be very good at their position. They must have good route-running skills, excellent chemistry with their quarterback, and they need to know how to properly block when needed.
The most effective slot receivers are those who have a great sense of timing and can run precise routes. They must also have the elusiveness to elude and escape tackles.
They must also have good hands and be able to catch the ball on the move. In addition, they need to be able to block and escape tackles when needed.
In other words, they need to be good players in the eyes of their coaches and teammates alike.
They need to have good chemistry with their quarterbacks and they need to be fast. In fact, the faster they are, the more likely they are to be a successful slot receiver.