Skill position

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Skill positions in gridiron football are the positions that are most directly responsible for causing or preventing points from being scored.

Quarterbacks, running backs (particularly halfbacks), wide receivers, cornerbacks and safeties are universally considered skill positions, as are return specialists.

Skill positions are often contrasted with linemen – players who line up along the line of scrimmage; that is, centers, guards, and defensive and offensive tackles (including nose tackles). Skill position players are generally smaller than linemen, but they must also be faster and have other talents (such as the ability to throw or catch the ball, cover an opposing receiver, or change directions abruptly) that are less of a priority to linemen. Skill positions are universally eligible receivers.

Lying somewhere in between linemen and pure skill positions are positions that require the properties of both: tight ends, H-backs, slotbacks, linebackers, fullbacks, gunners and, increasingly in the 21st century, defensive ends.

Kicking specialists, including placekicker, kickoff specialist, and punter, along with related special teams positions with only one specific task, such as long snapper and holder, are a sui generis category of player generally not considered to be a skill position.

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, Fullback, H-back, Triple-threat Backs Cornerback, Safety, Halfback Returning Punt returner, Kick returner, Jammer
Receivers Wide receiver (Eligible), Tight end, Slotback Nickelback, Dimeback Tackling Gunner, Upback, Utility
Formations (List)NomenclatureStrategy