A slot is a narrow notch, groove, or opening in something. It can be used to indicate an area of a machine where something like coins can be placed in order to make it work. It can also mean a hole in which a device can be fitted or an expansion card for a piece of machinery that has certain special capabilities.
The NFL is currently in a golden era of slot receivers, with players such as Tyreek Hill, Cole Beasley, and Juju Smith-Schuster helping to define the position. But what are the characteristics of a slot receiver?
Versatility: A good slot receiver can run and catch all kinds of routes. They also need to have good chemistry with the quarterback in order to be successful on the field.
Speed: They must be fast enough to break past defenders and get down the field quickly, especially on runs. They also need to be able to absorb contact and be tough enough to survive collisions in the middle of the field.
Chemistry: A slot receiver must have a good relationship with the quarterback in order to be successful on a regular basis. This allows them to better sync up with the offense and gain a higher share of targets and stats.
Route Running: A slot receiver must run a variety of routes in an effort to confuse defenders and pick up short passes. They must also be precise with their timing in order to maximize their chances of catching the ball.