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A receiver that lines up in the slot is considered a deep threat because of his ability to catch passes and run the ball. The slot is an important position because it allows the team to use multiple formations and gives the quarterback a clear view of the field. This makes the slot receiver one of the most versatile and valuable players in the NFL.
To be successful in the slot, a player needs to have good route running skills and great chemistry with the quarterback. It takes a lot of practice and repetition for the receiver and quarterback to get on the same page. The more routes a receiver can perfect and the more precise their timing, the better. A slot receiver also must be a solid blocker, especially since he is usually lined up close to the line of scrimmage. He needs to be able to pick up blitzes from outside linebackers and safeties, as well as seal off the outside on running plays.
Lastly, the slot receiver needs to be an excellent special teams player. This is because he often acts as the ball carrier on pitch plays, reverses, and end-arounds. This requires him to be in pre-snap motion before the ball is snapped and to have quick feet so that he can outrun defenders to the edge of the field.
Slot receivers also act as big decoys on running plays and are called in to help block on certain running plays. For example, on runs designed to the outside of the field, a slot receiver will usually be in motion before the ball is snapped and will try to make himself look like a wideout so that he can shield off safety coverage. Similarly, on inside run plays, the slot will block (or at least chip) outside linebackers and safeties.
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