The slot is a wide receiver position that lines up close to the middle of the field, just behind or a few steps off the line of scrimmage. The name of the position comes from this pre-snap alignment, but being a Slot receiver is much more than just lining up in that general area. A player who plays the Slot position needs to have a variety of skills that set him apart from other wide receivers.
First and foremost, he needs to be very good at blocking. This is because he’ll often be asked to block defensive backs, including nickelbacks and outside linebackers. He also needs to be able to seal off the outside on running plays that are designed for him. On passing plays, he’ll need to master just about every type of route that can be run — to the inside and outside, short and deep.
In addition to blocking, he’ll need to be very fast. Unlike some other wide receiver positions, the Slot isn’t required to be a deep threat, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be. A quick runner who can create a lot of space between himself and the defense is a huge asset for any offense.
He also needs to be very good at reading the game. Knowing what defenders are around him and where they’re going to be is critical for Slot receivers, who are often responsible for making split second decisions about what routes to run.
A Slot receiver must be very good at timing his releases, as well. This is because he’ll often find himself involved in double coverage, and his ability to make adjustments on the fly will be a big factor in how successful he is.
Lastly, he needs to be good at catching the ball. This means being able to high point the football and secure it in the air. It’s a difficult skill to master, and he’ll be constantly working on it throughout the course of his career.
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