A slot is a narrow opening in a machine or container, for example a slit for a coin in a vending machine.
A slot is also a place to receive a ball in the field of play, as in American football. The term is sometimes applied to the position of a receiver who lines up between the offensive tackle and widest receiver in a 3-receiver set.
Usually, these players are one yard behind the line of scrimmage at the time of the snap. They are usually referred to as slotbacks.
Slotbacks are used in both running plays and passing games. During running plays, they may be required to block as necessary.
In passing games, they often catch short passes and hand-offs. They can also run certain routes that are drawn up specifically for slot receivers to catch in open space.
Some slotbacks are positioned between the tight end and the outside wide receiver to provide pass protection. This is a common feature of the spread offense, as it allows the quarterback to use more than just his fullbacks or running backs.
A slot corner is a smaller, quicker player who will cover the slot receiver. They can be a valuable addition to a defense because they are fast and can be positioned in a good spot.
They can also be an asset in a team’s passing game because they can catch the ball or make a good catch and run. They can be especially effective on slants and quick outs.