In the NFL, a slot receiver is a special type of wide receiver who focuses on running specific routes and is used to set up bigger plays for the offense. The position was popularized by Oakland Raiders coach Al Davis in the 1960s, and it is now utilized by many of today’s top teams. Some of the best slot receivers in the league include Tyreek Hill, Cole Beasley, and Keenan Allen.

Like other wide receivers, a slot receiver is typically fast and has excellent hands. But he also must be precise with his route running and have great chemistry with the quarterback. The position requires a combination of skills that few other positions in the game can match.

The primary function of a slot is to run specific routes behind the line of scrimmage, which gives him more options than an outside wide receiver. He can run up, in, and out routes, which allows him to catch passes from almost any angle. This makes him a valuable weapon for an offense, especially when the defense shifts its coverage to target him.

Because of his pre-snap alignment, a slot receiver is also an important part of the offensive blocking game. He will often block (or at least chip) defensive backs, outside linebackers, and safetys, as well as seal off the outside on running plays. On some passing plays, a slot receiver may also need to perform a crack back block on defensive ends.

While the slot is not as physical as a tight end or fullback, it is just as important. The slot needs to be able to block in a variety of different situations, and he must be quick off the snap. In addition, he must be able to make multiple cuts and work his way into open space.

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