Slot is the name of the area in between the face-off circles in the offensive zone. This is usually taken up by the tight end or running back.
The slot receiver is a smaller, faster, and nimble player. A slot receiver is used for a variety of reasons, including as a checkdown for the quarterback and as a receiver who can create mismatches against the linebackers. They are also a key part of a catch and run game.
In the NFL, slot receivers are starting to appear more often. As many as three receivers can be on the field at once. These formations can be confusing for the defense. For example, a team could have a slot receiver on either the left or the right side of the field.
Slot receivers are most commonly used to create multiple ball receiver formations. While a single slot receiver is a useful part of a defense, there are some responsibilities that come with having this player on the field.
When a slot receiver is on the field, the defensive line can be slowed down, and the receiver can help prevent the quarterback from getting sacked. Some players also use their speed to stretch the defense vertically.
Because slot receivers are often shorter, they run short routes, usually to the middle of the field. Often, a slot receiver is used in place of a fullback, which can give the defense a more difficult time covering the receiver.