The modern NFL team isn’t complete without a good slot receiver. These guys are responsible for lining up a few yards behind the line of scrimmage and giving quarterbacks a reliable option when they’re looking to stretch the field and attack all three levels of the defense.
Whether they’re running a go route or catching a deep ball, the slot needs to have excellent hands and be precise with their timing. They also need to be able to block, as they’re often responsible for filling in for an extra tight end or fullback on some plays.
Most slot players need to have excellent speed, as well. That’s because they’re frequently asked to run through the secondary and blow past defenders when they’re on their way to the ball. Typically, these guys are smaller and stockier than their counterparts at the other positions, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be fast or tough enough to get open.
As with all wide receivers, the slot needs to be able to work well with the quarterback. They need to be able to read coverages quickly and break routes at the right time. They’re also usually asked to do a lot of route work, so they need to be comfortable running just about every type of pattern that’s out there. In addition, they need to be able to get open against zone coverages and make difficult catches in traffic. For all these reasons, it takes a special kind of receiver to be successful in the slot.