What Is A Nose Tackle In Football

A nose tackle in football is a type of defensice tackle that is used in a 3-4 system. A nose tackle is the only defensive tackle on the field and lines up directly in the middle of the formation.

These players are typically the largest on the field and are responsible for stopping runs and pressuring the quarterback.


Filling Gaps

The most important responsibility is to fill gaps in the offensive line. On any given play the running will have a specific gap he is meant to run through. Being the only defensive tackle on the field the nose tackle will have to identify this hole and plug it.

With his large size once the nose tackle occupies the hole he must not allow the opposing players to move him from it. This will force the running back to choose another hole in the offensive line. Hopefully giving the other defenders enough time to tackle the ball carrier.

Interior Pressure

The nose tackle is also responsible for bringing pressure on passing plays. Since this position lines up right in the middle of the formation, they bring pressure on the interior of the offensive line.

The defensive ends and outside linebackers typically are meant to pressure from the outside. This makes the nose tackles job even more important.

Drawing double Teams

As the only defensive tackle on the field, the nose tackle should look to draw double teams. drawing two offensive lineman to block you is going to offer more one on one matchups for other pass rushers.

In order to draw a double team the nose tackle must show he is a threat to running and passing plays. If the offense notices this they will be forced to double team the nose tackle giving other players more opportunities.

Nose Tackle Attributes


Strength is far and away the most important attribute of being a nose tackle. This is because they will have to take on several offensive linemen almost every play.

In order to do their job successfully, an NT needs to be able to disrupt the offensive line and plug holes during runs. Both of these responsibilities require great deals of strength. Offensive lineman attempt to stop nose tackles with all of their strength and these are some of the strongest players on the field.


Though this may not come to your mind first, having endurance is very important for a nose tackle. Due to the amount of weight, you must carry to play this position effectively staying on the field is very difficult.

In order to play a good share of the defensive snaps nose tackles must have incredible endurance for their body size.

Football IQ

Football IQ is another underrated aspect of playing this defensive tackle position. As we mentioned earlier nose tackles are responsible for plugging holes in the offensive line.

To do this job successfully this position must identify where the running back is going. This is typically done by reading the blocks of the offensive lineman.

This job requires a great amount of football IQ as the better they read the play the more successful they will be at finding the holes to plug.


As we already mentioned the nose tackles positioning is quite straightforward. This player line up right in the middle of the defense.

The nose tackle will line up right over the top of the center position on the offense putting them right in the middle of the formation. The NT will always line in this position as a formation with a single nose tackle will always line their player up here.


The build of a nose tackle is the same as other defensive tackles. These players are around average height yet they tend to weigh more than any other players on the field. This is beneficial when looking to plug holes on running plays.

A build of a NT usually involves a large amount of muscle mass paired with a large amount of body fat.

Concluding Thoughts

We hope this guide has taught you everything you need to know about the nose tackle position. These players differ from a defensive tackle by being the lone defensive tackle in a 3-4 formation. In other words, a NT is the only defensive tackle on the field and lines up in the middle of the formation.

While a defensive tackle plays the same position but there are usually multiple on the field. Both of which line up in the interior of the line but not over the top of the center.

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