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The Slot receiver typically lines up a few steps off the line of scrimmage, closer to the middle of the field than outside wide receivers do. Because of this, they usually have exceptional route-running skills and speed. They can be used on both short and deep routes, as well as running plays on which they aren’t the ball carrier.
The Slot receiver’s initial blocking is crucial to the success of any running play. They’ll often block (or at least chip) nickelbacks, outside linebackers, and safeties, as well as perform a crack back block on defensive ends. They’re also a key part of the formation on many passing plays. This requires them to have excellent hand-catching abilities and be able to run precise patterns. They may also need to act as the ball carrier on pitch plays or end-arounds.