Roster Breakdown: Number of Players in Each Position

Since NFL teams had to cut their rosters to 75 as of today, we figured now was a good time to talk roster numbers.

As we noted in our NFL schedule guide, at the start of the new league calendar year, teams may carry up to 90 players on their roster.  There are two roster cut deadlines imposed by the NFL, both of which occur in August.  The first cut reduces the team from 90 players to 75 players.  The second roster cut is to the final 53 man roster.  On game day, only 46 of the 53 players are active, which means they dress and are eligible to play during the game.  Each team may also maintain a practice squad with 8 members, which are counted separately from the 53 men on the active roster.

The roster is divided into three areas: offense, defense, and special teams.  Following is a breakdown of the positions and about how many players of each type are retained on the roster.  These numbers vary team by team depending on the schemes being run by the team or if the team has more talent available at a certain position.



– Quarterback – 2 to 3

– Running back – 4

– Wide receiver – 6

– Tight end – 3

– Offensive linemen (center, offensive guards, offensive tackles) – 9 to 10



– Defensive linemen (defensive tackles, defensive ends) – 7 to 9

– Linebacker (middle linebackers, outside linebackers) – 7

– Defensive backs (cornerbacks, safeties, also known as “the secondary”) – 10


Special Teams:

– Kicker – 1

– Punter – 1

– Long-snapper – 1


Don’t know what any of these positions are? No worries, we’ll have you covered in future posts.

– Val


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