There are many different fronts in all levels of football. In each defensive front, coaches and players need a way to communicate different alignments when setting up against an offense. To do that, we use a numbering system that tells us where each defensive player is aligned in comparison to an offensive lineman. If a defensive lineman is directly in front of an offensive lineman, they are an even number. If the defensive player isn’t directly over the offensive player, they are an odd number. There are some nuances, based on whether the the player has an inside shade or not. If they do, an “i” denotes that.
6-techniques align directly over the tight end. If no tight end is present, but the defender is still aligned outside the frame of the tackle (where a tight end would be), they are called a 6-technique. The alignment names still apply regardless of whether a tight end is present to align over.
6-techniques are your edge rushers. It used to be that 6-techs always lined up to the quarterback’s blindside, but they now go wherever the best matchup is. With outside leverage on the tackle, 6-techs use speed to collapse the pocket and provide pressure outside. 6-techs still need strength and power because they also have to be able to set the edge. If a tight end is present, the 6-tech is often asked to jam or re-route that tight end before rushing the passer.