What Is a Slot Receiver?

A slot receiver is a wide receiver who primarily lines up in the “slot” area on the field between the last offensive lineman and the outside wide receiver. This position was created in 1963 by Al Davis, who used the slot formation to attack all levels of the defense and win a Super Bowl during his time as head coach for the Oakland Raiders.

Defining the Position

The slot receiver is a very versatile player who can play in several different positions on the field. In addition to running the standard routes that wide receivers run, he may also be called upon to carry the ball in certain situations, such as pitch plays or reverses. This is done because of their speed, which allows them to outrun the defenders.

Having good chemistry with the quarterback is key for success as a slot receiver. When this chemistry exists, the slot receiver can be an effective pass catcher and will often catch multiple passes in one play.

Route Running

The more routes a slot receiver can perfect, the better they’ll be. This is because they’ll be able to run a variety of different routes, which gives them the ability to confuse the defense and catch the ball when it’s presented.


Because of their positioning in the middle of the field, slot receivers are usually able to block a wide array of defensive players. They can be a vital part of any team’s blocking game, since they line up relatively close to the center of the field and may be able to block nickelbacks, outside linebackers, or even safeties.

They can also be a big help on running plays, especially in slant and sweep situations. They are able to block outside linebackers and safeties, which allows the running back to take advantage of space on the field.

Getting the Job Done

To be successful as a slot receiver, they need to have strong hands and speed, as well as be able to make accurate catches in space. They also need to be able to read the defense, as they often have to get out of their stance to make a play.

Having good chemistry with other players is another important aspect of being a successful slot receiver. When this chemistry exists, they can make plays when others aren’t available or they have a lack of confidence in their skills.

Being a slot receiver is very different from being a wide receiver in that they have to deal with more physical contact on the field and need to be able to absorb it without tearing up their body. They are also in a position on the field that is more vulnerable to big hits from various angles, so they need to be able to make tough decisions about whether or not to take a hit.

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