Terminology for football: Draw plays and delays

A draw is a rushing play where the offense sells the pass first. In the same way that a play-action-pass sells the run, the draw sells the pass trying to catch the defense off guard, but pass-action-run just doesn’t flow off the tongue as easily as play-action-pass does. The Offensive line will basically take their pass blocking steps while engaging with the defender and then switch into bulldozer mode (if possible). Wide receivers and at times, the Tight End will run off the guys that are either covering them, or run into a deeper zone to take defenders out of the play.

Here is a generic draw play to the running back out of 3WR under-center set.

Draw Play

While running a draw from under center, the Quarterback drops back into a 3-5 step drop like a normal pass play depending on the depth of the running back. He then sticks the ball in the back’s “bread-basket”. Some quarterbacks carry out a pump-fake action with their hand to try to sell the fake as much as possible.

At times, they are utilized as safety plays in third down and long situations. The offense is showing pass, with 3WR or 4WR sets and there are times that they hit for big gains as they catch the defense sleeping.

Here is a generic version out of the shotgun. As the NFL game has evolved, some of the concepts that were set up as under-center concepts, have migrated to the shotgun and pistol formations as more teams spend a higher % of snaps in the shotgun.

The QB can take the snap, and feint a throw before giving the ball to the back. This is one example of why draws are also called a delay. The RB doesn’t move until handed the ball, then he crashes the line of scrimmage trying to find a hole behind his blockers to bust open a run.

Since the Shotgun is prevalent in today’s playbooks, some of the more athletic quarterbacks utilize Quarterback draws to get a key first down, or as redzone weapon. It’s one aspect of playing quarterback that Tim Tebow was actually good at, as was Michael Vick, but maybe that is because he didn’t need to read a defense.

Here is a generic QB draw from the shotgun, again with a 3WR set.

The way this play is drawn, the QB would take the snap and fake a swing pass to the RB to hopefully get a linebacker moving in that direction and then pulling the ball down and finding a path behind his lineman to generate positive yards.

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