A slot receiver is a receiver who lines up slightly off the line of scrimmage. They are usually a bit shorter and smaller than outside wide receivers, so they must have excellent route-running skills to get open for passing plays. They need to have speed, great hands, and be precise with their routes and timing.
They also have to be able to block well for running backs and wide receivers, especially on outside run plays where they are called upon to protect the quarterback or running back. They are also known to pick up blitzes from linebackers and secondary players, giving the quarterback or running back more room to operate.
Slot receivers are a growing favorite of NFL teams. They are versatile, difficult to defend, and can produce big numbers in the passing game. Some of the best slot receivers in the NFL today include Tyreek Hill, Cole Beasley, and Keenan Allen.
Their Speed and Hands
A slot receiver must have good speed to be able to outrun the defense, and their speed should be a lot better than a standard wide receiver who is more used to being lined up on the sidelines. Their speed allows them to stretch the defense vertically and make huge plays in the passing game.
Their Routes and Timing
A Slot receiver must be able to run just about every passing route possible. They must be able to read the defense and know where defenders are located so they can find the open space that the quarterback is looking for. They must also have good chemistry with the quarterback and be precise with their timing, so they can catch and deliver the ball on time.
Their Ability to Block
A Slot receiver needs to be able to block just about any kind of defender, from the outside backs to the fullback and tight end. This can be tricky, though, because there are a lot of different kinds of defenders and each one has a different role.
They should also be able to block when they don’t have a fullback or tight end on the play. For instance, a slot receiver may be asked to block for the running back on pitch plays or reverses.
Their Pre-Snap Alignment
A slot receiver will line up a few steps off the line of scrimmage, which gives them more room to move and a wider field to work in. This allows them to take more risks on catches and runs, while still being agile enough to make the play.
Their Pre-Snap Motion
A slot receiver must be able to run in pre-snap motion, or before the quarterback snaps the ball. This requires them to be able to jump into the action and get in front of defenders on the field before they have the opportunity to hit them.
Their Awareness of the Defense
A Slot receiver is a highly intelligent player, and they need to be aware of what defenders are doing on the field. They need to know where the defenders are, and which ones they can target.