The slot is a position in the offense that is used by players who are faster than a wide receiver but also can play deep coverage. In general, these players look more like running backs and are shorter in stature, stockier, and tougher than their wide receiver counterparts. They are also more likely to be used as a blocker and will need to be good at picking up blitzes from linebackers or secondary players. In the past, players such as Wes Welker and Charlie Joiner made a big impact by playing in the slot.
Slot receivers also act as a running back from time to time. The quarterback will often call them into pre-snap motion before the ball is snapped and they’ll carry the ball on pitch plays or end-arounds. This requires them to be fast, precise with their route running, and able to beat defenders to the spot.
In addition to these skills, slot receivers need to have an advanced understanding of how to block. They are the most important cog in the blocking wheel for offensive teams and will need to be able to pick up blitzes from linebackers and secondary players. They’ll also need to be able to provide protection on outside run plays and help the running back get more space.