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In the NFL, a Slot receiver is typically a smaller, faster, and more precise wide receiver than the outside wide receivers on their teams. They will have great hands, a high vertical leap, and the ability to track the ball well in the air. They will need to be able to run just about every passing route possible, and must be precise with their timing.
Because Slot receivers often line up close to the middle of the field, they will need to block as well as receive the ball. They will often be asked to perform a chip block on nickelbacks and safeties, and to fill in behind fullbacks and extra tight ends on running plays. They will also need to block on reverses and end-arounds.
They are also called upon to act as a ball carrier on some running plays, such as pitch plays and reverses. For this reason, they will be called into pre-snap motion by the quarterback, and must be able to get open quickly to make the catch.
Many of the best Slot receivers are also very good at blocking, and this is especially important for running plays. They will usually be responsible for blocking (or at least chipping) nickelbacks, safetys, and sometimes even outside linebackers. They will also need to block on running plays designed to the outside, and must be able to deal with strong coverage from cornerbacks and safeties.
Slot receivers will need to develop a strong chemistry with the quarterback, and must be able to read the defense and adjust their routes accordingly. They will also need to have great footwork and speed, as they must be able to cut off defenders quickly.
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