A draw play, or simply draw for short, is a type of American football play. The draw appears to be a passing play, but is actually a running play; in this way, it can be considered the opposite of the play action pass. The idea behind a draw play is to attack aggressive, pass-rushing defenses by "drawing" them downfield, leaving more open space to run the ball. Draw plays are often run out of the shotgun formation, but can also be run when the quarterback is under center. These types of draw plays are sometimes referred to as delayed handoffs. The running back will most often run straight upfield in the "A-Gap" (the space between the center and offensive guard), although there are more complicated versions.

Offensive movement during a draw play
  • The quarterback drops back to pass, just long enough to get the pass rush to come upfield.
  • The offensive linemen momentarily show pass block, but also try to push the defenders to the outside, creating a crease in the middle.
  • The running back momentarily fakes as if he's staying in to help pass protect, then takes the hand-off from the quarterback and heads downfield through the crease created by the linemen.
  • The receivers run clear-out routes downfield in order to take the defensive backs out of the play.

A variation of this play is the quarterback draw, where the quarterback himself runs the ball, instead of handing it off, meaning the running back is free to help block.

Another variation of this play is called the "wraparound draw" and takes longer to develop than a simple draw play.[vague]

Occasionally, the offense will actually run a double fake and run that looks like a pass (draw), then fake a run (play-action) and end up passing the ball. This is especially effective against defenses where the linebackers and safeties are overly aggressive, because they will see pass initially, but the play-action will pull them down towards the line of scrimmage to stop the run. They will pay no attention to the fact that the play is a fake because they think they already misread a pass and should be out of position once they realize the play really was a pass.


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