Pittsburgh Draft Preview: Marcus Cannon | OL | TCU
Name: Marcus Cannon
Position: Offensive Line
School: Texas Christian University (TCU)
Weight: 358 lbs.
40 Yard Dash: 5.26
Projected Round: 1st-2nd
While Marcus Cannon played offensive tackle at Texas Christian University (TCU), he would be a much better fit inside at guard in an NFL offense, where he would be able to rely on his massive size and ridiculous strength to gain the advantage at the line of scrimmage. Whereas left on the outside in the NFL, he would surely face trouble from speed rushers off of the edge.
Cannon carries his weight very well on his behemoth-like frame, and surprisingly was regarded by TCU teammates as ‘one of the most athletic guys on the team’. That’s what we like to hear when it comes to the big men up front, after all they’re athletes as well – something that is all too often forgotten until they miss an important assignment and then it’s: “You’re supposed to be a phenomenal athlete – HOW CAN YOU SCREW THAT UP FATSO?”, or something to the effect.
In truth, offensive linemen generally put in more time in the weight room, simply because their strength is their paycheck, undersized linebackers, defensive ends, running backs, quarterbacks, etc. all seem to have a way of finding success, but when is the last time you heard of some 230 pound offensive lineman being successful in the NFL?
Anyway, sorry about that rant, but back to Cannon – while he only allowed .5 (yes – one half of one) sack in his college career, perhaps the most important thing that teams are looking for from him is his ability in the running game. A portion of his game that he’s never failed to impress, he has the size to drive defenders off of the ball with relative ease, and the strength to keep them off of the ball carrier.
It’s unlikely that you’ll see him leading his runningback to the end zone in an escort fashion though, as being that big does come with drop offs in other areas – most notably speed.
He has the awareness and ability to backpedal to pick up blitzing linebackers that come free, and can also achieve enough force with one arm to bump a defender out of position before going after his main assignment.
His experience protecting Andy Dalton’s blind side will come in handy in the NFL, as it gives him a head start on the footwork segment of playing guard in the NFL. He’s very good when trapping, but below average when it comes to being asked to pull around the end. He seems to struggle to hit his defender in space, and generally only gets a hand on them instead of engulfing them with his massive body.
Cannon also comes baggage free, no off field trouble for him, and he seems like a genuinely good individual, which will certainly help keep his name in the discussion for the Steelers.
Cannon would be an automatic upgrade at the right guard position for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and could step into a starting role nearly automatically, placing another pivotal piece on an offensive line that has faced criticism since the departures of Jeff Hartings and Alan Faneca.
Cannon has been projected anywhere from the first to the third round, but after a tremendous outing at the NFL Scouting Combine, it seems more like that he’ll be off boards by the time the middle of the second round comes along, leaving the Steelers little choice but to take him with the 31st overall pick, should they choose to go offensive line in round one.