In the NFL, a slot receiver is an inside wideout that lines up close to the middle of the field. They are usually the second wideout on the team, and they need to be speedy with great hands and precise with their routes. Because of where they line up, they also need to be good blockers. The best slot receivers have chemistry with the quarterback and can fill in for a fullback or extra tight end.
The Slot receiver is important on running plays because of the blocking they provide. They help block for the outside running backs by picking up blitzes from secondary players and defensive ends. They can also help shield the other wide receivers on routes going to the outside of the field.
Often, Slot receivers will be asked to act as running backs on pitch plays, reverses, and end-arounds. The quarterback will send them into pre-snap motion before handing them the ball or pitching it to them, and they will try to get out in front of the defense and find open space.
The Slot is also used in aviation to refer to a limited number of takeoff and landing slots at busy airports. In the US, there are more than 500 commercial airports with at least one slot. The US Air Transportation Security Administration (ATSA) grants slots to airlines based on their capacity, flight schedule, and geographic location. The FAA also uses slots to manage traffic at extremely busy airports to prevent overcrowding.