A defensive lineman
is any of the down positions on the defensive side of Canadian
and American football
. Although alignments vary, the most popular consist of either 3 or 4 down linemen. On a 3 lineman set, there are 2 Defensive Ends which bookend an often large Nose Tackle. In a 4 lineman set, the Ends bookend 2 Defensive Tackles. The primary job of a defensive lineman is to gain penetration past the line of scrimmage to disrupt an offensive play. The best results are a sack on the quarterback
or tackling a ball carrier for a loss of yardage.
Traits in a Defensive Lineman
Almost all Defensive Linemen have certain key traits. These are important factors that often make or break how a lineman performs:
- Size - most defensive linemen are at least 270 pounds, and sometimes more. By contrast, most NFL running backs weigh no more than about 220-230 pounds
- Explosiveness - Linemen need to get at the offensive players quickly. They need to be able to explode out of their stance with lots of power and forward drive
- Durability - Linemen are guaranteed to take contact on every play in a game. They need to have the durability to withstand hits on every play in the season.
Types of Defensive Linemen
There are several variations of defensive lineman: