HomeMore Sports

Football

American Football101ArticlesBowl GamesCoachingCollege FootballDefensive AlignmentsDrillsEquipmentFlag FootballHistoryHow ToKick TypesLeaguesLingoNFL FootballNFL TeamsOffensive FormationsOfficialsPass TypesPenaltiesPlayersPlaysPositionsQuestionsCan A Girl Play Football?Can Quarterbacks Run With The Ball?Does A Touchdown Count As A First Down In Football?Football QuestionsHow Are Field Goals Measured In Football?How Long Does An American Football Game Last?How Long Is An NFL Football Field?How Many Chances Does The Offense Get To Reach A First Down In Football?How Many Downs Are There In Football?How Many Players Are There In An American Football Team?How Many Points Is A Blocked Field Goal Return In Football?How Many Points Is A Field Goal Worth In Football?How Many Points Is A Kick In Football?How Many Points Is A Safety Worth In Football?How Many Points Is A Touchdown Worth In Football?How Many Quarterbacks Are On A Football Team?How Many Steps Are In A Field Goal In Football?How Many Yards Are In A First Down In Football?How Many Yards Is The End Zone In Football?How Many Yards Wide Is A Football Field?Is The Quarterback The Captain Of The Team In Football?What Are Skilled Positions In Football?What Are Some Of The Lesser Known Rules Of Football?What Are The Dimensions Of An American Football Field?What Are The Most Common Penalties In NFL Football?What Are The Positions On A Football Team?What Are The Various Defensive Positions In American Football?What Counts As A Tackle In Football?What Does A Cornerback Do In Football?What Does A Field Goal Mean In Football?What Does A Guard Do In Football?What Does A Linebacker Do In Football?What Does A Tight End Do In Football?What Does A Wide Receiver Do In Football?What Does Punt Mean In A Football Game?What Happens After A Touchdown In Football?What Happens If A Wide Receiver Misses The Catch In Football?What Is A Touchdown In Football?What Is An Incomplete Pass Versus A Complete Pass In Football?What Is Justin Tucker's Longest Field Goal?What Is The Blue Line In Football?What Is The Easiest And Hardest Position To Play In Football?What Is The Longest Field Goal Kicked In College Football?What Is The Longest Field Goal Kicked In High School Football?What Is The Most Obscure Rule In Ncaa College Football?What Is The Yellow Line In Football?What It Means To Be A Quarterback In Football?What Makes A Good Wide Receiver In Football?What Position Hikes The Ball In Football?When A Defensive Player Catches A Pass In Football?When Is An Onside Kick No Longer Recoverable By The Kicking Team In Football?When Was The First Touchdown Scored In NFL Football?Where Is Football Most Popular?Who Catches The Ball In Football?Who Created Football In America?Who Is The Best QB In The NFL Football?Who Is The Best Running Back In NFL Football?Who Is The Best Team In American Football?Who Is The First NFL Quarterback To Win 5 Super Bowl Rings In Football?Who Kicks The Ball In Football?Who Protects The Quarterback In Football?Who Was The Heaviest NFL Football Player Ever?RulesScrimmage DownsSkillsStatisticsStrategyTeam StaffThe FieldTrophies
  1. Home
  2. American Football
  3. What Are The Various Defensive Positions In American Football?

What Are The Various Defensive Positions In American Football?


What are the 11 defensive positions in football?

The 11 defensive positions in football are made up of three distinctive groups: the defensive line, linebackers, and defensive backs. The defensive line is made up of the defensive tackles (DT) and defensive ends (DE). Usually, there are four players on the defensive line, two defensive tackles and two defensive ends. Then, there are linebackers. The linebacker group is made up of the middle linebacker (MLB) and the left and right outside linebackers (LOLB, ROLB). Finally, the defensive backs (sometimes called the secondary). The defensive backs are made up of cornerbacks (CB) and safeties (S). The most common defense consists of four defensive linemen, three linebackers, and four defensive backs for a total of 11 players.

  1. Defensive tackles
  2. Defensive ends
  3. Linebackers
  4. Cornerbacks
  5. Safeties
  1. Strong safety
  2. Free safety
  1. Nose tackle

Introduction

When a team is on defense they have two main goals:

  1. To get their team back on offense.
  2. To prevent the opposing team from scoring points by forcing a turnover

The Defense

The defense can be divided into two groups of players:

  1. The Defensive Line
  2. The Secondary

Defensive Line

The defensive line is a key part of every football team.

They are the group of five players who position themselves on the line of scrimmage and counter the opposing team's offensive line. They consist of the following players positions:

  1. Nose Tackle (1x)
  2. Left Tackle (1x)
  3. Right Tackle (1x)
  4. Defensive Ends (2x)

The Secondary

The secondary is a group of players that are positioned in the defensive backfield.

Cornerbacks

Cornerbacks are defensive players in the secondary, but they usually start on the line of scrimmage before protecting against routes in the defensive backfield.

Cornerbacks specialize in covering the other team's wide receivers. Their main responsibility is to prevent the other team from catching the ball. There are usually two cornerbacks on the field.

Linebackers

Linebackers are found in the defensive backfield close to the line of scrimmage.

They can serve as an extra pass protector or a blocker, depending on the play. Linebackers can also blitz the quarterback in attempt to get a sack. These are the players responsible for relaying the play calls to the whole defensive unit on the field. There are usually two linebackers on the field, but can be more or less if it's a 3-4 or 4-3 defense.

Free Safety & Strong Safety

The free safety and strong safety are defensive secondary players positioned in the defensive backfield. The strong safety is positioned on the strong side of the field, defending against passes and stopping the other team's ball carrier. The free safety is positioned on the opposite side of the other team's tight end on the weak side.

Learn More

If you want to learn more about the defense of a football team, check out these tutorials:

  • Defensive Positions
  • Football Defense
  • Football Defensive Line
  • Football Secondary
  • Football Linebacker