A player can insert cash or, in “ticket-in, ticket-out” machines, a paper ticket with a barcode into a slot to activate the machine and begin playing. Once the reels stop spinning and a winning combination is formed, the player receives credits based on the paytable. The payouts on slot machines are regulated by state law.
Some of the most prolific receivers in the NFL – Tyreek Hill, Cole Beasley, Tyler Lockett, and Juju Smith-Schuster, to name a few – spend much of their time lining up in the slot. That’s because the position is one of the most difficult to defend in the entire league.
Slot receivers, who line up a few steps behind the line of scrimmage in comparison to wideouts that line up farther out, are versatile and a huge asset to any offense. They’re able to run a variety of routes, both up and in the middle of the field, and can help create mismatches with the secondary by catching passes both deep and underneath.
The best slot receivers are able to block well, too. Without the benefit of a fullback or extra tight end to help with blocking, it’s up to the slot receiver to be a reliable blocker. This means they have to be strong, agile, and have great timing. They also need to be able to fill in as a second receiver when needed and develop good chemistry with the quarterback.
They also need to have speed, as they are often asked to run routes at the line of scrimmage. Their speed helps them get by the safety on a quick go route and allows them to beat coverage deep when running a fade or an out route. They’re also a big part of the team’s running game, as they’re used to carry the ball on pitch plays, end-arounds, and other types of designed runs.
Because of their versatile skill set, slot receivers are in high demand in the league. The best ones are coveted by many teams and can often command large salaries. However, the position isn’t for everyone, as it requires a certain type of player. Those who aren’t comfortable with the physical demands and mental rigor of the slot role should look elsewhere for a career in the NFL. Those who do excel in the slot can be some of the most dangerous receivers in the league.