Chris Canty: Worth the Wait?

The Cowboys' desire to get bigger on the defensive line clearly this offseason was clearly more than just idle rhetoric.

After signing Jason Ferguson to occupy the middle of the anticipated 3-4 formation, Dallas now has drafted four new players for the defensive front seven with the fourth-round selection of Virginia defensive end Chris Canty (6-7, 279, 4.94).

Thought to be a first- or second-round talent, Canty slid to the fourth because of a knee injury in his senior year and an eye injury suffered in a postseason fight (requiring 50 stitches) -- an injury that some think will cause Canty to wait until the 2006 season before making his Dallas debut.

But when he gets on the field, Canty will give the Cowboys another massive defensive end who holds his ground well against the run. He's not a pure speed pass rusher, but has adequate mobility and an enormous wingspan.

Parcells knows what he's getting; Canty played in the 3-4 for Parcells disciple (and defensive guru) Al Groh at Virginia, who watched Canty pile up 104 tackles -- an enormous total for a defensive end -- as a junior in 2003.

In five games as a senior before going down with the knee injury, Canty had 30 tackles (7 for losses) and a sack.

He reads plays well and keeps his pads remarkably low for such a tall defensive end. A future trio of Ferguson, Marcus Spears and Canty would give the Cowboys perhaps the largest 3-4 defensive line in the entire league. Spears and Canty aren't extraordinarily fast, but they have the size to occupy blockers on running plays, allowing the Dallas linebackers to run free to make plays.

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