Slot Receivers – Everything You Need to Know
A slot is a narrow notch, groove or opening, such as a keyway in a piece of machinery or a slit for coins in a vending machine. It can also refer to a position in a group, series or sequence, such as the number of spaces available in a class or the order of an alphabetical list. Moreover, a slot can refer to a specific period of time, such as a set amount of hours in a day or the window of time when an airplane can take off or land.
The NFL is starting to rely on slot receivers more than ever before, and for good reason. They provide quarterbacks with another viable target and they can make an enormous impact on a team’s offense when they get open. In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about slot receivers, including what they do, how they differ from a traditional wide receiver and more.
One of the most important things that a slot receiver does is to create separation from the defender. They need to be able to read coverage and recognize which defenders are closing in on them, so they can create space for themselves by running precise routes and timing their releases. It’s a highly-tuned skill that takes a lot of practice to perfect, but when done well, it can lead to big plays for the receiver and the offense as a whole.
A quality slot receiver must also be a strong blocker. Because they’re lined up closer to the middle of the field than a typical wideout, they’ll often be responsible for blocking nickelbacks, linebackers and safeties on running plays. They’ll also be asked to chip away at defensive ends and perform a back block on defensive tackles on occasion.
A good slot receiver is also a fast player who can create separation from defenders with their speed and quick feet. They need to be able to run a variety of routes and be comfortable in both deep and short coverages, as they may be called upon to do both depending on the play. Lastly, they need to have excellent hand-eye coordination and be able to catch the ball in stride. All of these traits are what make up a solid slot receiver and can help them excel in the league. Examples of outstanding slot receivers include Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr., Tyler Boyd, Cooper Kupp and CeeDee Lamb.