A slot is a small opening in a machine, usually used to hold a coin or a piece of paper. It may also refer to a position in a series or sequence, or to an allotment of time or space. The term is sometimes used in reference to an allotment of seats in public transportation or in the military, or to a set of tasks, such as cleaning a room or filing paperwork.
The term “slot” is also used in computer science to describe a particular location on a disk or in memory that holds information. It is the smallest unit of storage that can contain data and still be readily accessed and read. As such, it is considered the most reliable form of data storage. However, it is not immune to the effects of mechanical failure or data corruption.
In the NFL, a slot receiver is a wide receiver who lines up in the area between and slightly behind the outer wide receivers and the offensive linemen. They are named as such because they often line up in the same area as a “slotback,” which is a running back who lines up in the slot.
Because of their positioning and pre-snap motion, slot receivers are often called upon to act as a ball carrier on certain plays such as pitch plays or reverses. This requires them to have the ability to elude tacklers and find open space in order to avoid getting hit. They are also required to have great route running skills, as well as excellent chemistry with the quarterback.
While the responsibilities of a slot receiver are quite different from those of a running back, they share many similarities when it comes to blocking. Slot receivers must be able to block for themselves, but they are also required to do so in unison with other members of the receiving corps and the offensive linemen. This is because they are responsible for blocking defensive backs who would otherwise be covering their outside routes.
Aside from their blocking responsibilities, slot receivers are also expected to have good route running and catching skills. They are required to run just about every type of route that is thrown at them, and they must be precise in their timing. In addition, they must be able to work well with the quarterback, as well as other wide receivers, in order to create the best possible combinations on offense.
While the slot receiver is becoming more popular in the NFL, this position has been around for decades. Some of the most successful players in the league have come from the slot, including Tyreek Hill (580 receptions, 7,365 yards and 41 touchdowns) and Cole Beasley (706 receptions, 9,228 yards and 23 touchdowns). Other notable players who have excelled at the slot include Troy Williamson (550 receptions, 6,654 yards and 12 touchdowns) and Wayne Chrebet (464 receptions, 7,000 yards and 21 touchdowns). Despite being a less popular option, the slot is an extremely valuable position on the modern NFL offense.