Slot receivers, also known as “Slot-backs” are wide receivers who line up pre-snap in the middle of the field. They’re often used in three-receiver offensive sets, but they can also be called on to play in all kinds of situations as a part of a team’s passing attack.
This position is becoming increasingly important as teams continue to implement more passing formations with multiple wide receivers on the field at once. They have a special skill set that makes them a key component in any offense.
Players in this position must be able to run complex routes that involve elusion and evasion. They also have to be able to absorb contact in the middle of the field and be fast enough to escape tackles.
They must be able to catch the ball and move their feet, too, since they frequently run short routes that require them to be quick on their feet. They can also be strong enough to block and escape defenders as they make their way down the field.
Their primary job is to block incoming defenders, especially in the running game, but they’re also often called on to chip and crack back when defensive ends are lined up outside the slot. This is because the Slot receiver’s alignment allows him to line up relatively close to the middle of the field, making it easier for him to seal off defenders and prevent a running play from going anywhere.
He’s also called on to cover a lot of DB lines, so he needs to be quick and able to read a defense’s coverage. In some cases, he’ll need to be a little bigger than other receivers on the field, too, in order to block defenders who are trying to make their way down the field.
During the 1963 season, the Oakland Raiders’ coach Al Davis was inspired by Sid Gillman’s defenses and created the slot area in his defense. This allowed him to have two wide receivers on the weak side of the defense.
This was the beginning of the slot receiver’s prominence as a player in the NFL. It forced defenses to adjust by adding nickel backs or slot cornerbacks.
While a slot receiver has the same skill set as any other wide receiver, they tend to be more speedy than their counterparts. They’re also more athletic, and they can often stretch the defense vertically with their ability to go inside or outside of the defense.
They are also more flexible in the run game, because they can often run a slant or quick out, which allow them to avoid defending defenders who are covering them from the boundary.
Some of the most notable slot receivers in football history include Wayne Chrebet, Wes Welker, Charlie Joiner, and Julian Edelman.
They’re all incredibly talented, skilled, and tough, and they all paved the way for the current generation of slot receivers. They’re still playing at a high level, and they’re helping lead their teams to success in the NFL.