The term edge rusher (alternately edge defender or simply edge) is a piece of nomenclature designating a position in gridiron football. Some analysts consider "edge rusher" to be its own position entirely.
Players considered to be edge rushers are usually 4-3 defensive ends or 3-4 outside linebackers. Note that 3-4 outside linebackers often act as an extension of the defensive line, in that they will attack the offensive tackles or blocking tight ends on the majority of their snaps under a majority of 3-4 schemes, though it is not uncommon to see them drop back and play a more traditional 4-3 linebacker role as well.
One reason the word "edge" is used in the term "edge rusher" is that edge often refers to the area outside of offensive tackles, but within a couple of yards of the line of scrimmage. While other positions will rarely be referred to as edge rushers, other than 4-3 defensive ends and 3-4 outside linebackers, it is common for defensive backs, traditional linebackers, and even defensive tackles to occasionally play the position on a play-to-play basis.
Each player's traditional position is noted in parentheses (DE for defensive end, OLB for outside linebacker).
|Positions in American football and Canadian football|
|Offense (Skill position)||Defense||Special teams|
|Linemen||Guard, Tackle, Center||Linemen||Tackle, End, Edge rusher||Kicking players||Placekicker, Punter, Kickoff specialist|
|Quarterback (Dual-threat, Game manager, System)||Linebacker||Snapping||Long snapper, Holder|
|Backs||Halfback/Tailback (Triple-threat, Change of pace), 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|