The top two receivers in the incoming rookie class are almost a consensus at this point. Corey Davis and Mike Williams are the top 2 guys, and the overwhelming majority of scouting/draft experts and dynasty players would agree with this statement.
After that, the rankings can go a variety of different directions. I’ve personally seen rookie wide receiver rankings with at least 4 different choices for who they think is the 3rd best receiver in this class. If you haven’t already, give the Dynasty Life Podcast a listen. In this episode, we talk about Cannon as well as some other top rookies that you should be scouting out before your rookie drafts.
I’m not necessarily saying that I think Cannon should be that 3rd guy, but he absolutely belongs in the 2nd tier behind Williams and Davis. Let’s dive a little deeper on Cannon as a prospect:
Height: 6 feet 0 inches
Weight: 180 lbs
Projected 40-yard dash: 4.45
Cannon plays much bigger than he measures. Before I looked up his measurables, I would have guessed he was about 6’2″ 210. It actually caught me off guard to find out he was only 180 lbs. The Baylor product is a freak athlete who plays way bigger than his measurables. His vertical and his 40-time will be extremely interesting to see at the NFL scouting combine as they could really boost his draft stock.
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Cannon can jump out of the building. He consistently makes plays over the top of defensive backs that make you believe that he will be a dangerous red-zone weapon in the NFL. Just take a look at this GIF of him jumping over a defender to grab a touchdown:
There are plenty of receivers who measure 6’4″ or greater who can’t make this play, so seeing it from a guy his size is downright impressive. Here’s another beauty of Cannons:
Here he really shows that he understands how to catch the ball at it’s highest point so that the defender really never has a chance. This shows up time and time again when watching film on #9.
One of Cannon’s best assets is his curl route. He runs it like an NFL wide receiver should, and it netted him a ton of first downs in Baylor’s offense. What that route often sets up is this fake where Cannon almost completely stops his momentum like he is running a curl, then rockets past the defensive back for an uncontested touchdown. Watch him execute this route to perfection:
Limited Route tree
Baylor’s offense, like many college offenses, don’t ask receivers to run a full route tree. In fact, the overwhelming majority of the routes I watched on tape were 9 routes, curl routes, and wide receiver screens. He does all of these things well, and his aforementioned start/stop ability will serve him well when he has to learn a full NFL route tree. This weakness isn’t a huge concern for me given what I have seen from him. Want more evidence that this won’t be an issue? Take a look at this head fake at full speed that turns the defender around and leaves Cannon wide open for a long touchdown:
It may not look like much, but the thing that should excite you is his ability to make that move while running at full speed. It’s one thing to run as fast as he does, and another make a clean cut, but to combine those at full throttle is something that very few athletes can do. With some refinement from NFL coaching, that route alone could score him 2-4 touchdowns a year.
After the catch playmaking
I wouldn’t call this a deficiency, but it certainly isn’t a strength. Cannon is not going to return a lot of kicks in the NFL because he simply isn’t that elusive. Being a technical route runner (something Cannon isn’t yet) and an elusive after-the-catch playmaker are different skills, but both are helped by quick feet. This is something Cannon can improve in the NFL, but it isn’t what will make him his money.
It’s hard to find a good pro comparison for Cannon. He’s clearly very athletic, but his 40-time and height don’t match up with a lot of pros. I think the best comparison is actually former player Santonio Holmes. They are both fast and have great jump-ball abilities despite being 6 feet or shorter. Cannon is unique and just looking to make a statement to the NFL that he belongs and can soon join the upper echelon of playmakers at that level.
Cannon has many of the physical tools of an NFL WR1. Baylor has been wide receiver factory rivaled only maybe by Clemson over the past few years, and Cannon put up solid numbers every year he was in college. If an NFL team takes him after the 2nd round, they will get a steal. My prediction is that the combine does Cannon some favors and he won’t have to wait that long to get his name called when the NFL draft comes around. His rank on the list of incoming receivers may vary, but he shouldn’t be any lower than 6th, and can be as high as the 3rd best in the class with a chance to shoot up if he lands on a good team.