Slot Receivers and Why They’re Important in the NFL


Slot receivers are an emerging part of the NFL’s offense, especially as teams continue to use less power football and more athletes in space. Their ability to stretch the defense vertically off of pure speed is a valuable asset that can be crucial to winning a game, as players like Tyreek Hill and Brandin Cooks have shown.

The name “slot receiver” comes from where they line up on the field pre-snap between the outside wide receiver and the last man on the line of scrimmage. This is a position that typically doesn’t have much room to move, so the player needs to be able to run a variety of passing routes in order to maximize his chances for success.

He’s also a crucial part of the blocking game, as he’ll be lined up relatively close to the middle of the field, which means that his initial block is often more important than that of the outside receivers on running plays designed for the middle of the field. In addition, slot receivers may also be called into pre-snap motion to carry the ball for pitch plays, reverses, and end-arounds, so they must have really good speed as well as great hands to be effective at their jobs.

A slot receiver’s size is also key to his success, since he must be able to fit into space without getting hit. He’s usually a little shorter and smaller than outside receivers, so he needs to have the strength and athleticism to be able to withstand heavy hits from the defense while making his way downfield.

They also have very good route-running skills and tend to be faster than outside receivers, which is why they can be so useful on running plays designed for the middle of the football field. In addition, they’re excellent at finding open spaces that the defense’s best tacklers may miss and snagging touchdowns from short and deep passes.

In addition to their ability to make big plays, slot receivers also have great tackling skills, which is essential for keeping the ball out of the hands of a defense’s best players. The average slot receiver is 6’0” or taller (sometimes a little smaller) and weighs around 180-190 pounds.

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