Slot Receivers and Why They’re So Important in the NFL
The NFL is a fast-paced game and if you’re a wide receiver, you need to be able to do many things quickly. This is especially true if you’re in the slot position, a spot on the field just behind the outside wide receivers and a few steps off the line of scrimmage. In recent seasons, teams have been relying on their slot receivers more than ever before. They’re often targeted on nearly 40 percent of passing attempts, which has caused defensive backs to alter their coverage and nickel and dime packages to deal with them.
This makes the slot a valuable position for any team to have, but it’s not necessarily for everyone. Typically, slot receivers are smaller and faster than traditional wide receivers and have good route running skills. They can run inside and outside routes, deep or short, depending on the play and what the quarterback is calling for. They’re also able to block when called upon, which helps their teammates on running plays and gives them an extra set of hands against defenders.
They get their name from the fact that they line up in the “slot,” which is the area between and slightly behind the outside wide receivers and the offensive linemen. They may even need to be on the line of scrimmage in order for the offense to maintain seven players on the line. It’s a more agile and flexible position than any other in the game, which is why it has become so popular over the years.
Almost every NFL team has one now, and it’s a vital part of their offense. If you can dominate in the slot, you’ll be a threat to opposing defenses and make a huge impact on your team. Some of the most prolific slot receivers in the league are Tyreek Hill, Cole Beasley, Keenan Allen, and Juju Smith-Schuster, among others.
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