Slot receivers are a key part of the game of football and play an important role in both the offense and defense. They are typically the best route runners on their team, and they can be a vital part of any quarterback’s passing attack.
The term “slot” is a contraction of the words slot machine and receiver, referring to an area on the offensive sideline where a wide receiver can line up. The first slot receiver was invented in 1963 by Al Davis, who was a coach for the Oakland Raiders at the time.
In the NFL, slot receivers are often used as a hybrid of an outside and boundary receiver. They can stretch the defense vertically off of pure speed and are often able to catch short passes in the open field.
They aren’t a position to be taken lightly, and it’s critical to choose one who can be counted on to perform when needed. A successful slot receiver has a set of skills that can only be acquired through experience.
Slot Receiver Profile
The size of a slot receiver is generally smaller and stockier than an outside receiver, although some players are taller than average (around 6’3”). They don’t have to be fast or strong to be successful in this position, but they should be able to absorb contact in the middle of the field without breaking down.
Their speed is also important because the quarterback can fake handoffs and pitches to them when they go in motion. This allows them to gain a full head of steam before they snap the ball. They can then run a variety of plays with the quarterback.
These plays can include a running back or a blocker, depending on the quarterback’s preference. They can also pick up blitzes from linebackers or secondary players and provide protection on outside run plays, giving the running back more room to operate.
Slot receivers don’t have to wear a number on their helmets, but they do need to be able to run with a ball in their hands at all times. They can also be called upon to do a variety of other duties, such as faking a handoff or blocking.
They can be drafted in the same class as other receivers, though they usually cost more. They may not be able to play their entire career at the NFL level, but they can still earn a high salary and become an integral part of the offense.
The biggest advantage to playing slot receivers is that they are usually in the right place at the right time, and this can be an invaluable asset to a team’s passing offense. They can pick up a blitz, block defenders and run a variety of routes that their outside receivers can’t.
Another key advantage of playing slot receivers is that they are often the most versatile player in the game. This means they can see a large amount of action, and they can contribute to the offense more than their outside receivers.