American Football Positions

New to the sport or returning from some time away and not sure what american football position to try out for or where you want to be on the field? Have no fear, we have an explanation below of the different role types below. 



Before we dive into each role, it is important to keep in mind that each position on the field has a specific job to do. There are two halves of every American football team. The offence and the defence, one is trying to score points and the other is tying to stop them. So do you fancy yourself as a play maker or a show stopper read on to find out which football position suits you.

Defensive Back

The role of a Defensive back is to disrupt the Offensive’s capability of catching the ball and scoring points. 



The cornerback position requires speed, agility and the ability to make rapid sharp turns. A cornerback’s skillset requires anticipating the quarterback, back pedalling, disrupting pass routes, block shedding, and tackling.



You have to stick to the Wide receivers like glue and stop them catching the ball by swatting it down, or intercepting it and becoming a hero! If they do catch the ball, you are the last person possible to make the tackle! So cant shy away from getting stuck in.

The Defensive lines job is to cause havoc and destruction. They pass through the Offensive Line and tackle the Running Back or better yet Sack the Quarterback. 


To be a successful Defensive lineman you are Big, Strong, Fast and very very very aggressive. You will be expected to wrestle with a big opponent every play with the same intensity every snap! 


You must have a deep hunger for tackling the ball carrier and not shy away from getting stuck in! 

Defensive Lineman


The Linebackers are considered to be some of the most athletic players on the pitch, with lots of responsibilities on the field, they are considered leaders of the Defence and will be expected to know everyone’s position and lead the Defence to victory.


Linebackers come in varied shapes and sizes however must have a versatile skill set. They are responsible for stopping the run, the pass, and everything in between. The best linebackers in football share similar skills. Some of those skills include vision, tackling, and leadership.


You must be a good communicator to play Linebacker, whilst being aggressive when needed. You are the picture that comes up when someone searches for the definition of “controlled aggression”. 

You are Big, Strong, Smart and protective! The role of an O lineman is to protect the QB and RB. You, are the Big Brother of the Team, you look after those on the Offence and carry them to victory on your shoulders! 


Intelligence is important as an Offensive Lineman, You must be able to think and learn the Offensive playbook and respond to audibles (audible keywords or codewords) on the field whilst also being the strength and backbone of the team. 

Offensive Line

Quarter Back

The most famous of all positions and for good reason, the Quarterback is the player to who the ball is snapped and must throw the ball to other players on their team. However, just having a killer arm and throwing ability isn’t enough. This player must be a natural leader and communicate very well with others, whilst also knowing how their offence works and runs. 


You must be the General on the pitch and make tough and quick split-second decisions to go and score points against your opponent…all of this must be done while 11 guys are trying to hunt you down and bring you to the dirt!


To come into this position with no football experience is hard work, as you must dedicate a lot of time and effort to become the best players not just for yourself but for your teammates too, do you have what it takes?

As you can guess by the title, you will be running a lot in this position! So a good running back must have a very strong lower body and core, must be fast, and must be able to change direction quickly.


Your job is to carry the ball through the opposition and score points by getting to the endzone. Whilst maintaining the core values of a running back they do come in different sizes! Are you the quick nippy elusive runner who breaks ankles with quick jukes and spins? Or are you the bulldozer who blasts through tacklers leaving a wake of destruction behind them? If you are both then this is 100% the position for you!

Running Back

Wide Receiver

One of the roles that you may have heard of from the NFL or college games, the role of a wide receiver is to catch the ball thrown by the Quarterback its important that a Wide receiver has, hands and catching ability, play speed and tempo, toughness and competitiveness.


You must also be very physically fit, so the runners amongst you will be well suited for this position. Your ability to think quickly and learn is vital, you will have to learn an Offensive playbook with a route running tree. (the route tree is a map of where you need to go on each play!)

Thanks for reading. Hopefully, the descriptions have given you a flavour of the responsibilities of each football position. If any of the positions appeal to you because you are quick on your feet or are you big and strong and want to put that strength to the test. Perhaps you have an incredible eye for watching the game unfold, and you can predict where the ball is going or even where it should go.


Get in touch to find out how you can join the East Essex Sabres by filling in our recruitment form we look forward to hearing from you.

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