A team isn’t complete without a reliable slot receiver. That’s why the position has become so important in today’s game. The slot receives the ball more than any other wide receiver, and has a unique role that requires a specific set of skills. The more a player understands the role and excels at the skill set, the better they’ll be as an NFL receiver.
The slot receiver positions themselves pre-snap in the area between and slightly behind the outside wide receiver and the tight end or offensive tackle. This is how they get their name: the receiver lines up in the “slot.” Slot receivers are capable of running just about any route on the field, and they must have great chemistry with their quarterback to be effective.
Unlike wideouts, who are often tall and athletic, slot receivers tend to be shorter and stockier but quick enough to beat defenders to the ball. They must also be tough enough to absorb contact and escape tackles. On running plays, they’re important blockers for the running back to allow him to run routes to the outside.
While they may not be as involved on special teams, they still need to have excellent hand-eye coordination, precise timing and good catching ability. Most importantly, though, they need to be able to run every single route on the field. Moreover, they need to have a high vertical jump and great short-area speed. This will allow them to beat defenders on quick route combinations and gain big yards after the catch.