This position has designated the players at each end of the defensive line, but changes in formations over the years have substantially changed how the position is played.
Early formations, with six- and seven-man lines, used the end as a containment player, whose job was first to prevent an "end run" around his position, then secondarily to force plays inside.
When most teams adopted a twelve-man line, two different styles of end play developed: "crashing" ends, who rushed into the backfield to disrupt plays, and "stand-up" or "waiting" ends, who played the more traditional containment style. Some teams would use both styles of end play, depending on game situations.
Traditionally, defensive ends are in a three-point stance, with their free hand cocked back ready to "punch" the offensive lineman, or in a "two-point stance" like a linebacker so they can keep containment. Some defensive ends play the position due to their size; they close down their gap so the running back has no hole to run through. Other ends play the position due to their speed and agility; they are used to rush the quarterback. These ends can time the snap of the ball in order to get a jump on the rush, and stop the play.
Most of the time it is the job of the defensive end in run defense to keep outside or contain, which means that no one should get to their outside; they must keep everything to the inside. The defensive ends are fast for players of their size, often the fastest and smallest players on the defensive line. They must be able to shed blockers to get to the ball. Defensive ends are also often used to cover the outside area of the line of scrimmage, to tackle ball carriers running to the far right or left side, and to defend against screen passes. Since the creation of zone blitz defenses in the late 1990s, defensive ends have sometimes been used in pass coverages, dropping back to cover routes run close to the line of scrimmage.
In the 3–4 defense, defensive ends are used primarily as run stoppers and are much larger. They are usually 285–315 pounds. Often, the position is played by a more agile or slightly undersized defensive tackle. Because of the increased popularity of the 3–4 defense, the value of a defensive tackle prospect that can possibly be used in this manner has increased. They are used to distract the offensive lineman on pass rushing plays to let the outside linebackers get a sack. They are usually 6'3"–6'8". They block screen passes and are put outside the offensive tackles to get a sack.
|Positions in American football and Canadian football|
|Offense (Skill position)||Defense||Special teams|
|Linemen||Guard, Tackle, Center||Linemen||Tackle, End||Kicking players||Placekicker, Punter, Kickoff specialist|
|Quarterback (Dual-threat, Game manager, System)||Linebacker||Snapping||Long snapper, Holder|
|Backs||Halfback/Tailback (Triple-threat), Fullback, H-back, Wingback||Backs||Cornerback, Safety, Halfback, Nickelback, Dimeback||Returning||Punt returner, Kick returner, Jammer, Upman|
|Receivers||Wide receiver (Eligible), Tight end, Slotback, End||Tackling||Gunner, Upback, Utility|
|Formations (List) — Nomenclature — Strategy|
The 1970 National Football League draft was held January 27–28, 1970, at the Belmont Plaza Hotel in New York City, New York.1971 NFL Draft
The 1971 National Football League draft was held January 28–29, 1971, at the Belmont Plaza Hotel in New York City, New York. It was the first time that three quarterbacks were selected with the three first draft choices. The Boston Patriots were renamed New England Patriots after the draft in March 1971.1972 NFL Draft
The 1972 National Football League draft was held February 1–2, 1972, at the Essex House in New York City, New York.During round 17, after Falcons coach Norm Van Brocklin yelled to his staff "Do we want the roughest, toughest s.o.b. in the draft?!", the team drafted the then-64-year-old actor John Wayne, "of Fort Apache State" (Wayne actually attended the University of Southern California and was a member of the USC Trojans football team in his youth); NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle disallowed the selection, however.1973 NFL Draft
The 1973 National Football League draft was held January 30–31, 1973, at the Americana Hotel in New York City, New York.1975 NFL Draft
The 1975 National Football League draft was held January 28–29, 1975, at the New York Hilton at Rockefeller Center in New York City, New York.1980 NFL Draft
The 1980 NFL draft was the procedure by which National Football League teams selected amateur college football players. It is officially known as the NFL Annual Player Selection Meeting. The draft was held April 29–30, 1980, at the New York Sheraton Hotel in New York City, New York. The league also held a supplemental draft after the regular draft and before the regular season. This draft is notable as the first that the nascent ESPN network (which had first gone on the air seven months earlier) aired in its entirety, and the first to be televised.1982 NFL Draft
The 1982 NFL draft was the procedure by which National Football League teams selected amateur college football players. It is officially known as the NFL Annual Player Selection Meeting. The draft was held April 27–28, 1982, at the New York Sheraton Hotel in New York City, New York. At the time of the draft the Raiders were still the Oakland Raiders, they relocated to Los Angeles in May 1982. The league also held a supplemental draft after the regular draft and before the regular season.1986 NFL Draft
The 1986 NFL draft was the procedure by which National Football League teams selected amateur college football players. It is officially known as the NFL Annual Player Selection Meeting. The draft was held April 29–30, 1986, at the Marriot Marquis in New York City, New York. The league also held a supplemental draft after the regular draft and before the regular season.
The first overall selection, Bo Jackson, had told the Buccaneers prior to the draft that he would refuse to sign with the team. Disputes with team owner Hugh Culverhouse intensified after Jackson was ruled ineligible to play college baseball due to a trip he took with Culverhouse. This angered Jackson, as Culverhouse had assured him that the visit wouldn't cause any NCAA violations. It was said that Jackson, who was having what he called his best year playing baseball in school, made the Buccaneers nervous and that by getting him somehow ruled ineligible to play baseball, he would be forced to focus on football. Prior to the 1987 NFL Draft, the Buccaneers forfeited their rights to Jackson.1989 NFL Draft
The 1989 NFL draft was the procedure by which National Football League teams selected amateur college football players. It is officially known as the NFL Annual Player Selection Meeting. The draft was held April 23–24, 1989, at the Marriott Marquis in New York City, New York. The league also held a supplemental draft after the regular draft and before the regular season.
The draft is noted for having four of the first five players selected - quarterback Troy Aikman, running back Barry Sanders, linebacker Derrick Thomas, and cornerback Deion Sanders - being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Offensive tackle Tony Mandarich, the only top five pick not inducted, is considered a draft bust.1990 NFL Draft
The 1990 NFL draft was the procedure by which National Football League teams selected amateur college football players. It is officially known as the NFL Annual Player Selection Meeting. The draft was held April 22–23, 1990, at the Marriot Marquis in New York City, New York. The league also held a supplemental draft after the regular draft and before the regular season.
The Dallas Cowboys would have had the #1 overall pick in the draft for the second consecutive year by virtue of their league-worst 1–15 record in 1989. However, the Cowboys forfeited their first-round pick by selecting quarterback Steve Walsh in the first round of the previous year's supplemental draft. The first pick instead went to the Atlanta Falcons, who traded it to the Indianapolis Colts.1992 NFL Draft
The 1992 NFL draft was the procedure by which National Football League teams selected amateur college football players. It is officially known as the NFL Annual Player Selection Meeting. The draft was held April 26–27, 1992, at the Marriot Marquis in New York City, New York. The league also held a supplemental draft after the regular draft and before the regular season.
The 1992 draft was notable because for the first time since 1958 one team, the Indianapolis Colts, held the first two overall picks. Neither made a major impact in the league, and the 1992 draft in retrospect is considered one of the worst in league history. It is the only draft since 1960 to produce no Pro Football Hall of Famers. It was also the final NFL Draft featuring twelve rounds of selections; the league would reduce the rounds to eight the following season, and then seven the year after that, where it has remained since.Bruce Smith (defensive end)
Bruce Bernard Smith (born June 18, 1963) is a former American football defensive end for the Buffalo Bills and the Washington Redskins of the National Football League. He was a member of the Buffalo Bills teams that played in four consecutive Super Bowls as AFC champions. The holder of the NFL career record for quarterback sacks with 200, Smith was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009, his first year of eligibility. Smith was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.Courtney Brown (defensive end)
Courtney Lanair Brown (born February 14, 1978) is a former American college and professional football player who was a defensive end in the National Football League (NFL) for seven seasons. He played college football for Penn State University, and earned consensus All-American honors. The Cleveland Browns selected him with the first overall pick of the 2000 NFL Draft, and he played professionally for the Browns and Denver Broncos of the NFL.
Brown is often listed as the biggest draft bust in Cleveland Browns franchise history.Dave Ball (defensive end)
David Stewart Ball (born January 4, 1981) is an American former college and professional football player who was a defensive end in the National Football League (NFL) for eight seasons. He played college football for the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and earned unanimous All-American honors. He was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the fifth round of the 2004 NFL Draft, and has also played for the New York Jets and Tennessee Titans of the NFL.Derrick Alexander (defensive end)
Derrick Alexander (born November 13, 1973) is a former defensive end/defensive tackle who played for the Minnesota Vikings and Cleveland Browns of the National Football League. He was drafted from Florida State University in the first round of the 1995 NFL Draft ahead of such big names as Hugh Douglas and Warren Sapp.After Alexander retired, he worked in the front office for the Cleveland Browns for several years. Alexander was inducted into the Florida State Hall of Fame in 2007. From 2011 to 2013 he was the head football coach at Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School in Spring Hill, Florida.Linebacker
A linebacker (LB or backer) is a playing position in American football and Canadian football. Linebackers are members of the defensive team, and line up approximately three to five yards (4 m) behind the line of scrimmage, behind the defensive linemen, and therefore "back up the line." Linebackers generally align themselves before the ball is snapped by standing upright in a "two-point stance" (as opposed to the defensive linemen, who put one or two hands on the ground for a "three-point stance" or "four-point stance" before the ball is snapped).
The goal of the linebacker is to provide either extra run protection or extra pass protection based on the particular defensive play being executed. Another key play of the linebacker position is blitzing. A blitz occurs when a linebacker acts as an extra pass rusher running into any exposed gap. When a blitz is called by the defense, it is mainly to sack or hurry the opposing offense's quarterback.
Linebackers are often regarded as the most important position in defense, due to their versatility in providing hard hits on running plays or an additional layer of pass protection, when required. Similar to the "free safety" position, linebackers are required to use their judgment on every snap, to determine their role during that particular play.Lombardi Award
The Lombardi Award is awarded by the Lombardi Foundation annually to the best college football player, regardless of position, based on performance, as well as leadership, character, and resiliency. From 1970 until 2016 the award was presented by Rotary International specifically to a lineman or linebacker. The Lombardi Award program was approved by the Rotary International club in Houston in 1970 shortly after the death of famed National Football League coach Vince Lombardi. The committee outlined the criteria for eligibility for the award, which remained in place until 2016: A player should be a down lineman on either offense or defense or a linebacker who lines up no further than five yards deep from the ball.The voting electorate is made up of the head coaches from all NCAA Division I schools, sports media personnel from across the country, and former winners and finalists of the Lombardi Award. The total number of voters is approximately 500. Ohio State University holds the record for most Lombardi awards with six. Orlando Pace, the only two-time winner (1995 and 1996), is the most recent offensive lineman to be honored.
The main part of the trophy used to be a block of granite, paying homage to Lombardi's college days at Fordham University as an offensive lineman when his offensive line was referred to as the "Seven Blocks of Granite". A new trophy designed by Texas sculptor Edd Hayes replaced the original block of granite.National Football League Defensive Player of the Year Award
Several organizations give out NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards that are listed in the NFL Record and Fact Book and Total Football II: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League. The Associated Press (AP) has been giving the award since 1972; Pro Football Writers of America/Pro Football Weekly since 1970; and Sporting News has announced winners since 2008. The Newspaper Enterprise Association was the originator of the award in 1966. However, it became defunct after 1997. Also going defunct was the United Press International (UPI) AFC-NFC Defensive Player of the Year Awards that began in 1975.Will Smith (defensive end)
William Raymond Smith III (July 4, 1981 – April 9, 2016) was an American football defensive end in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for Ohio State and was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the 2004 NFL draft, where he played for the entirety of his career. Smith was shot and killed during an altercation after an alcohol related traffic accident.