The Slot Receiver in the NFL


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Despite being shorter and quicker than traditional wide receivers, the Slot receiver is an extremely critical cog in the offensive machine. They must have top-notch route running skills and a great understanding of the field, as well as advanced blocking abilities. Especially on running plays, they will need to block (or at least chip) defensive positions like nickelbacks, outside linebackers, and safeties.

The Slot receiver is getting a lot of play in the NFL, as offenses are shifting to 3-1 receiver/back combinations more often than ever before. Their position gets its name because of where they typically line up pre-snap. They usually line up between the tight end or offensive tackle and the outside receiver. This is a fairly small area on the field, so the Slot receiver must be able to run precise routes.

In addition, the Slot receiver must be very strong and athletic. They have to be able to break away from defenders and get open for passes down the field, as well as catch balls over the middle of the field. They must have top-notch hands, too, since they are typically tasked with catching more high-point and precision passes than other receivers in the team.

A Slot receiver must be a great blocker, as well. Their initial blocking after the snap is almost as important as the outside receivers’, as they are often asked to seal off the outside edge of the defense. They’ll need to be able to block (or at least chip) defensive backs and safeties, as well as perform a crack back block on the defensive ends.

Lastly, the Slot receiver must be very smart. They’ll need to be able read the defense and know what type of pass is coming, as well as how to adjust their route to get open for it. They must also be able to understand the quarterback’s audibles, and have a good grasp of the passing game as a whole.

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