A slot is a narrow opening, usually in a piece of machinery or in the slot for a coin in a vending machine. A slot in a computer is an electronic connection that allows the processor to be easily upgraded, often without having to open it up.
Slot receivers are a popular part of many NFL offenses. They provide a versatile option for quarterbacks and give the offense a strong blocker when running outside.
They are a position that requires special skills and speed to be effective. Their pre-snap motion and speed allow them to get a jump on the defense. They can also be used as a ball carrier when running reverses, pitch plays, and other play action.
Their speedy nature also allows them to make a tackle when they need to. This ability to deal with crushing blocks is key for slot receivers, as their position and pre-snap motion can cause them to be hit much more frequently than the traditional wide receiver.
In addition to their speed and agility, slot receivers are also able to run different routes than traditional wideouts. This is important because it allows them to avoid getting tackled and get in the open field.
They can also help the defense by acting as a decoy on other plays when they line up in the slot area, especially on short passes or quick throws.
They are considered a valuable part of any NFL offense, and the number of them being used in recent seasons has grown significantly. Several teams rely on them heavily, including the Buccaneers, Chiefs, Raiders, and Dolphins.