What are the football defensive positions in America?

Football defensive positions: Each football player has a specific position on the field as well as a unique set of talents. For the complex plays devised by the coaches to succeed, all of these positions must cooperate. So, what are the defensive positions in football? How do they work and what are their responsibilities? Let’s find the answer in the article below.

What are defensive football positions?

What are the football defensive positions?

In American football, the defense is the team that doesn’t have the ball. They work to prevent the offense of the other team from scoring. On a play, both the defense and the attack may have 11 men in various positions on the field. Defensive linemen, linebackers, and defensive backs are the three broad categories into which the football defensive positions can be divided. As shown by the players wearing white jerseys in the picture below, D linemen often play along the line of scrimmage the closest to the ball. Typically, the linebackers are slight to the side or behind the D line, and the D backs are usually the ones who are the furthest back or to the sides.

The defensive line (DL)

DL is the first in all defensive positions in football and the first defensive football players the offense needs to take into account when planning their blocking strategies. Depending on their precise position and the style of defense they play, they must decide where to line up and what to do.

football defensive positions

More detail: What Is A Football Defensive Line?

Defensive tackles (DT)

The DL in the middle is referred to as D-tackles, in contrast to the offensive line, where the outside players are the tackles.

In spite of the fact that their primary position is roughly opposite the offensive guard, the players can move around to a variety of positions in the same general region. Although many of them excel in rushing the quarterback, their main duty is to stop the opposing team from running the ball. Good DT are able to block up the middle of the play and take on many blockers at once. Moreover, they keep the offensive tackles away from the inside linebackers.

Nose tackle (NT)

Only one DL in football defensive positions, known as the nose tackle, is positioned up in the middle of a 3-4 scheme. A nose tackle will take hits from all sides as an offense tries to remove him from the play since he is alone in the middle. But a strong nose tackle can maintain his position and turn into an offensive nightmare for the entire game.

Defensive end (DE)

Another important factor in defensive football positions is DE. They must possess both the speed and quickness to pursue the quarterback on passing plays Besides, the strength and power to contend with offensive linemen are also important. D-ends align themselves closer to the middle of the line in 3-4 defenses. They are positioned outside the offensive tackles in 4-3 defenses. If he holds his ground, he may turn into an offensive nightmare for the duration of the game.

More detail: What is A Defensive End in Football?


The second level of the defensive positions in football is formed by the linebackers (LB). Behind the D-line is where they play. There are often four linebackers on defense if there are three D-linemen. Three linebackers are often present if there are four DL. DL is often larger and slower than linebackers.

Inside linebacker (ILB)

Two inside linebackers stand across from the offensive guards in a 3-4 formation. However, their precise positions will change as the game progresses. They must be able to go one-on-one with blockers, avoid running plays through the middle, and defend against passes.

Middle Linebacker (MLB)

In a 4-3 formation, the middle linebacker’s primary zone is across from the offensive center. The defensive equivalent of the quarterback, the middle linebacker is typically the team’s captain. He must have the pace to sprint across the field and make plays, as well as be a terrific tackler.

Outside Linebacker (OLB)

Outside linebacker is another position in football defensive positions who is frequently quicker and can be a little bit smaller than inside linebackers. They must be versatile defenders in a 4-3, able to play the run, pass, and tackle linemen in addition to pursuing the quarterback. In a 3-4 defense, the outside linebacker frequently serves as the team’s primary pass rusher and is valued for his ability to tackle the quarterback on passing plays.

Defensive backs (DB)

The final line of the football defensive positions is made up of DB. They must be quick and strong, able to cover receivers and make tackles against opponents who are considerably bigger.

Strong Safety (SS)

The strong safety resembles an additional linebacker in many ways. He may start in the defensive backfield several yards away, thus he must be quick enough to cover the pass. But more often than any other DB, he’ll be positioned close to the line when he lines up. He must be tough, fearless, and capable of facing down bigger players because of this.

Free Safety (FS)

The defensive man lined up deepest is typically the free safety. To ensure that no one follows him, he must be able to see the entire field. Prior to the play, the free safety is the one who signals the other D-backs, informing them of their duties.

Cornerback (CB)

In a base defense, there are two cornerbacks on the field, and they stand the widest. The cornerback’s main responsibility is to cover wide receivers and prevent them from catching passes. A strong corner will come up the field to stop plays that are being run around the outside of the line and isn’t afraid to make a tackle.


This describes an additional D-back. Normally, there are four D-backs, but in clear-cut passing scenarios, a team might substitute a fifth defensive back for a linebacker or lineman. The backup cornerback typically fills in at this position, which is known as the nickel back.

In short, football defensive positions in America have crucial roles in winning a match. Besides, with this article, we totally can answer the question of what are the defensive positions in football. Remember to follow the website American football terms for more.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button