OWINGS MILLS - Teams like the Ravens that operate primarily out of a 3-4 defensive front look for several specific characteristics in a 5-technique defensive end.
Ideally, a player is big and stout enough to hold up against the run and also athletic and capable enough as a pass rusher to generate some pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
Size is also important for the position - not just weight, but someone manning that position should also be tall, usually 6-foot-4 or above - with long arms since a 5-technique lines up directly over the offensive tackle.
Baltimore lacked an ideal fit for that position last season - something that proved troubling at times throughout the year - but free-agent signing Chris Canty has the look of that prototypical 5-technique through this point of the summer.
Canty isn't a superstar by any means, but he's been a productive starting defensive lineman for most of the last decade, and he appears to be an ideal fit for that 5-technique spot.
"He's the prototype," Baltimore defensive lineman Terrence Cody said of the 6-foot-7, 317-pound Canty. "He's tall, big, strong and athletic. That's the type of guy you want as an end in a 3-4.
"You can't have a small-bodied guy out there because the end in a 3-4 does a lot of heavy lifting - not just pass rushing - and you've got to be able to hold your own in there against the run."
Canty didn't play the 5-technique the last four years with the New York Giants - a team that operated primarily out of a 4-3 - but he played the 5-technique during his first four years in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys and also during his college career at Virginia.
"I've been playing that position the majority of my football career," Canty said. "I played in a 3-4 for Al Groh in college, played it in Dallas, so I have a pretty good understanding of what that defense is all about, and I think my body type bodes well for that position."
And having Canty in the mix now to man that position helps the Ravens on multiple fronts.
First of all, he provides the ideal skill set and characteristics for that 5-technique spot. And secondly, with Canty playing the 5-technique, other players that were forced to fill that position last year are now able to focus on positions that better suit their individual skill sets.
Haloti Ngata and Arthur Jones are the two primary examples. Ngata has primarily played nose tackle this summer and Jones is slated to the Ravens' starter at 3-technique defensive tackle, a spot he's appeared to play well at this summer.
As for Canty, he's consistently played well dating back to the spring after signing with Baltimore in March.
He's seen only limited playing time during the Ravens' first two preseason games, but he had a sack during the first preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a quarterback hurry Thursday night against the Atlanta Falcons.
"Chris Canty has played really well," Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said. "He's played at a level that we can win with and more. He's improved us at that position. I'm excited that he's on our team. He's also a great guy, a great leader, a hard worker - all those things, too."