The elephant end is a relatively new name for this position in football. The term elephant end is used to describe a hybrid defensive player, typically a defensive end or linebacker. Hybrid players don't fit exactly with the positions they are labeled as, can play multiple positions, and usually possess skills outside of their position's requirements. The elephant end will generally line up on the weak side. They are required to be versatile and be able to defend against passes, as well as cover gaps and interfere with the offensive player's release.
This position gives the player more freedom to roam and make decisions on whether to cover gaps, pass rush, or assume coverage. Playing with an elephant end gives the defense an advantage because it allows the defender to be more quick and mobile than typical defensive ends, causing a mismatch that allows for a unique hybrid defense to throw off the opposing team. In the NFL, players like Charles Haley, Clay Matthews, and Julius Peppers are known for playing the elephant end role.