Football Front Seven

The front seven is a formation in football that consists of seven defensive players at the line of scrimmage for the snap. These plays are also called down linemen, as they make up part of the seven man defense. The front seven consists of four defensive linemen and three linebackers. The front seven is normally the starting seven, sometimes referred to as a defensive dream team, meaning that these players are the strongest defenders on the roster. They act as a "wall" meaning that offensive players have a hard time getting through them to score.

Defensive Formations

The front seven can be a part of a few defensive formations, like the 7-2-2 or the 7-1-2-1. The seven diamond defense also relies on the front seven as the base of the formation. These were very popular before the forward pass was introduced.


The front seven have a few different roles depending on the play. Their main goal is to stop the other team from getting a pass rush. With some situations, they have to drop back into their respective zones for zone coverage. Typically each defensive member covers an opponent, but the game plan can change depending on the other team's formation.