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.1974 NFL Draft
The 1974 National Football League draft took place at the Americana Hotel in New York City, New York, on January 29–30, 1974. Each of the 26 NFL teams were granted 17 selections for a total of 442 picks.Many experts consider the 1974 Pittsburgh Steelers to have had the best draft in NFL history as they selected four players later inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth, and Mike Webster). The closest any other team has come to this success in a draft is the Dallas Cowboys’ 1964 draft, when three Hall of Famers were taken.The Houston Oilers had the first pick in the 1974 draft based on their one-win record in 1973, but they traded the first overall pick—as well as the first pick of the third round, #53 overall—to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for defensive end Tody Smith and wide receiver Billy Parks. Dallas used the two picks to select two future Pro Bowlers, defensive end Ed "Too Tall" Jones and quarterback Danny White.
This was the first NFL draft since 1938 to not have any quarterbacks taken in the first round, and one of only five. Along with 1988, it is the only draft where no quarterback was taken in the first two rounds, and 1974 is generally regarded as one of the worst quarterback draft classes of all time, with only fourth round pick Mike Boryla reaching the Pro Bowl, and even Boryla was out of the NFL by 1978.1975 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.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.
The 1989 NFL Draft also helped set a major precedent, as Barry Sanders was selected with the third overall pick despite an NFL rule stating that collegiate juniors could not declare for the draft.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.Malik Jackson (defensive lineman)
Malik Barron Jackson (born January 11, 1990) is an American football defensive tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Tennessee. Jackson was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft and has also played with the Jacksonville Jaguars.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.Willie Davis (defensive end)
Willie D. Davis (born July 24, 1934) is a former American football defensive end for the Cleveland Browns and the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League (NFL). Davis graduated from Grambling State University.
Davis wore number 87 during his career with the Packers. For 10 seasons, Davis anchored the Packers' defensive line, playing 138 consecutive regular-season games and part of 162 regular-season games for his NFL career. Davis was a member of all five of Lombardi's NFL title-winning teams and played in Super Bowls I and II.
Davis played in an era when neither tackles nor sacks were official statistics. However, John Turney, a member of the Professional Football Researchers Association, reports that Davis had in excess of 100 sacks during his 10-year Green Bay career (1960–69), "possibly more than 120," including a minimum of 40 over the 1963–65 seasons alone. Davis himself is quoted as saying, "I would think I would have to be the team's all-time leader in sacks. I played 10 years and I averaged in the 'teens' in sacks for those 10 years. I had 25 one season. [Paul] Hornung just reminded me of that the other day." Davis earned All-Pro honors 5 times (1962, 64–67). He was voted to the Pro Bowl five times (1963–67).
Davis recovered 21 fumbles over his Packers career, which, more than three decades removed from his retirement, remains a team record. The Packers honored his retirement with a Willie Davis Day on December 21, 1969. Davis remains on the team's Board of Directors.
In the early 1970s, Davis worked as a color commentator on NFL telecasts for NBC. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1981. In 1986, Davis was named the Walter Camp Man of the Year. In 1987, he was given the Career Achievement Award from the NFL Alumni, and in 1988 he was elected to the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame . In 1999, he was ranked number 69 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players.
Davis is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. He received his MBA from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business in 1968. He is a member or former member of the boards of Alliance Bank, Dow Chemical (1988–2006), Johnson Controls (1991–2006), K-Mart, L.A. Gear, Manpower (2001–), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (1999–), MGM Mirage, Rally's Inc., Sara Lee (1983–), Schlitz Brewing, and WICOR Inc. He has been president of All-Pro Broadcasting, operators of radio stations KHTI, KATY-FM, WLDB-FM, WLUM-FM, and WZTI since 1976.
Davis' son is actor Duane Davis. He also has a daughter, Lori Davis
Gridiron football concepts
|Levels of play|