Slot is the name given to a wide receiver who lines up in the middle of the field and plays in a run-heavy offense. They’re not as fast as a traditional wide receiver, but they have the ability to move quickly and catch passes out of the backfield. They’re also tougher than most receivers and can handle contact in the middle of the field.
They have a lot of speed and have good hands, which is why they often become a key part of a team’s passing attack. They can also play the role of a ball carrier on pitch plays, reverses, and end-arounds from time to time.
These receivers have a high ceiling for gaining yards and are great to use on short-passing plays or in the red zone. Their speed is the best way for them to get past defenders in the open field and gain yards. They can also be effective on slants and other routes that require them to move down the field quickly.
A Slot receiver usually gains 8-15 yards on a pass reception, which is a big advantage in this position. They don’t have to deal with crushing blocks like a receiver on an outside linebacker or a safeties in the middle of the field, but they do need to be able to shield their bodies and keep their heads up as they make their way down the field.
They’re able to do this because they’re lined up closer to the center of the field than the typical outside receivers. This allows them to seal off incoming defenders and create space for the quarterback.
This strategy has been a major part of many offensive teams’ success over the years. It’s been especially prevalent in the NFL in recent years, as teams have shifted to a more pass-heavy offense.
Traditionally, a slot receiver has been smaller and stockier than a typical wide receiver. However, as they’ve gotten bigger and faster over the years, they’ve started to see more targets and increase their stats.
Slot receivers are often targeted on around 40 percent of a team’s passing attempts, which is significantly higher than the number of targets for traditional wide receivers. This trend is expected to continue in the coming years as teams transition to a more pass-heavy offense.
They can also be used as a blocker for running plays designed to the outside portion of the field. This is especially important on runs that involve nickelbacks, outside linebackers, and safeties.
Their pre-snap motion is similar to a running back’s, but their speed and ability to handle pressure in the backfield make them great to use on slants and other routes that involve them moving down the field quickly.
Because they’re lined up so close to the center of the field, Slot receivers can be a huge asset to running plays that use their speed and ability to make big plays in the open field. They can help protect the quarterback from a pass rush or perform a crack-back block on defensive ends to seal off the open field.