Slot receivers are outlet receivers for the quarterback
A slot receiver is a wide receiver who is used as an outlet for the quarterback. In 2017, teams used slot receivers on 38.1 percent of their offensive snaps, and quarterbacks averaged 8.25 yards per pass. These receivers do not have the same physical attributes as outside receivers, but they often have more versatility.
The NFL has started to use slot receivers more often in its offenses, because they can quickly get open for the quarterback and give him a low-risk outlet. However, this increased role has not translated into a higher value for these players.
They can stretch the defense vertically off pure speed
Slot receivers are versatile playmakers with excellent speed and evasive moves that can exploit a defender’s coverage scheme. They also benefit from wide fields that allow them to gain better distance and reduce high-velocity hits. The slot formation was first created by Jim Davis, who patented the strategy to allow an offense to utilize a three-level concept without having to use all go routes.
Slot receivers can also stretch the defense vertically. Their pure speed enables them to run multiple routes at once, including a basic deep option route and a choice route. The choice route creates room for receivers to get open, while the deep route leaves the defense in a tight bind. Zach Mettenberger ran a deep route against Alabama, leaving defenders in no man’s land.
They can be used as a running back
Slots are a versatile position that allows quarterbacks to use one player to block for another. They line up near the offensive line and slightly behind the line of scrimmage. They are most commonly used in multiple-ball receiver formations. Slot receivers may be used to block for running backs or wide receivers and are often a great option for teams looking to spread the ball around.
Running backs can be used as either a slot or a wide receiver, which is a versatile position that is used in many different situations. The Panthers used McCaffrey as a slot receiver more than 100 snaps last year. Other teams have successfully deployed RB/WR hybrids in the slot position, including the Falcons, Patriots, and Saints.