The slot is one of the hottest positions in NFL offenses. Tyreek Hill, Cole Beasley, and Juju Smith-Schuster are just a few of the top receivers that thrive in this position. It got its name because it lines up pre-snap between the last man on the line of scrimmage (typically the tight end or offensive tackle) and the outside wide receiver. It’s a very specific spot that requires special skills to excel in.
Slot receivers have to be incredibly speedy and have excellent route-running abilities. They also need to be reliable with the ball in their hands. Because they are a little bit smaller than outside receivers, they need to be precise with their routes and timing.
They can also be asked to block on running plays, such as sweeps and slants. In this case, they have to be able to pick up blitzes from linebackers and secondary players. On passing plays, they can also act as a safety valve to protect the quarterback by picking up coverage and running deep patterns to create space.
Finally, slot receivers need to be good at reading the defense and knowing when they can run or pass. They can be a game-changer for an offense when they are on the same page as the quarterback. This takes a lot of practice to get right, but when it does, it’s a beautiful thing to watch. Slot players need to be aware of their payback percentage and win frequency, or hit rate, too.