In football, the slot is a critical position. It’s where the offensive lineman meets the defensive front, and it’s a key role in protecting outside running plays and allowing receivers to run routes in space. Often, top players in the league—such as Julio Jones, Cooper Kupp, and Davante Adams—play in the slot.

The slot is usually a speedy receiver who has excellent route-running skills. They’re typically shorter and smaller than outside wide receivers, so they have to be able to make precise cuts in order to gain separation from defenders. Ideally, they’re good at catching short passes behind the line of scrimmage and running routes that go up, in, or out. They also need to be able to block.

Due to their position on the field, Slot receivers need to be good at blocking nickelbacks, linebackers, and safeties, and they may have to perform a crack back block on outside runs. They need to have the ability to deal with quick blitzes and help block downhill to protect the running back.

The Slot receiver is a vital piece of the offense and must have chemistry with the quarterback in order to thrive. This is why many great Slot receivers have great communication with the QB—it allows them to work together and open up passing lanes.

They’re also asked to run the ball from time to time, and they’ll be called into pre-snap motion by the quarterback on pitch plays, reverses, and end-arounds. They need to be fast enough to beat the defense on these types of running plays, and they’re also used as a ball carrier on some pass patterns.

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