Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 7/25/13
As each year’s NFL draft winds past the fourth round, most fans are lucky to have heard of the players their team drafts. Marcus Cannon was one of those names that fans might have recognized when the Patriots selected him No. 138 overall in 2011. Maybe that’s why hopes have been so high for the behemoth lineman the past two years. The 6-foot-5, 358-pounder was supposed to be a second-round pick that year, but he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma after an irregularity was discovered at that year’s NFL combine. The illness made him slide all the way down to the fifth round, where the Patriots were presumably getting a steal. Cannon has played 23 games for the Patriots in his two seasons in the league, starting one. He’s played mostly right tackle with some snaps coming on the left side when New England uses Nate Solder as a tight end. Cannon has also taken occasional reps at right guard. If Cannon were to break into the starting lineup, right guard may be the spot to do it, barring injuries to any other position. Cannon played right and left tackle at TCU, but many expected him to be converted to the interior upon being drafted. That hasn’t been the case so far. But with Sebastian Vollmer and Nate Solder locked up for years to come at tackle, Cannon would likely have to stay a reserve if he sticks it out at the position. Cannon’s size and skill set would itself lend well to a full-time conversion to guard. Starting right guard Dan Connolly was the lowest rated player on the Patriots’ offensive line by Pro Football Focus’ grading last season. There is no weak link to the New England offensive line, but if there was a weaker link, it would be the right guard. It will be important to watch where Cannon lines up during training camp. If it’s at guard, he could compete with Connolly for the starting job. If it’s at tackle, that likely means the team is happy with Cannon playing the same role he did in 2011 and 2012 as a backup tackle and third offensive lineman in heavy rushing situations. Cannon struggled last season during the preseason when Vollmer was sitting out with injuries. Cannon was giving up pressure after pressure and Tom Brady looked flustered behind him. That was while fans and media alike were panicking over the offensive line, which turned out just fine once the season started. Cannon played well at tackle during the regular season, though, and was exceptionally good in his one start Week 12 against the Jets. He allowed just two pressures all game with zero sacks and zero quarterback hits. It appeared Cannon was ready for a starting job if the Patriots wanted to give him one. Cannon’s size and playing style are similar to 2012 Bills second-round pick Cordy Glenn and 2013 Chargers first-round pick D.J. Fluker. Glenn started at left tackle during the 2012 season and Fluker is listed as a tackle on San Diego’s roster. Both players were expected to be future guards or right tackles in the NFL. The tackle position is more valuable than guard, and as the NFL draft showed this year, the right tackle position is becoming nearly as important as the left tackle (Eric Fisher, Luke Joeckel and Lane Johnson were all taken in the first four picks of the 2013 draft and are all expected to play on the right side this year). So, it makes sense why the Patriots would want to try Cannon out at tackle for as long as possible before forcing a switch to guard. But a starting player is more valuable than a reserve, so if Cannon can compete with Connolly for a starting spot at guard, it’s worth using him at the “less valuable” position. Regardless of where Cannon plays, the Patriots are expected to have one of the best offensive lines in the league again this year. Vollmer and Logan Mankins are All Pros, Ryan Wendell is one of the most underrated players in the league and Solder could make the jump to All-Pro level performance in his third season in the league (he is well on his way after his first two years). So Cannon will either be valuable depth or an improvement at a position of strength for the Patriots. Watch him during training camp to find which role he’ll play. Each day this week we are going to feature a different player to watch during training camp. Check out the schedule below. Monday: Jake Bequette Tuesday: Tavon Wilson Wednesday: Shane Vereen Thursday: Marcus Cannon Friday: Jamie Collins Photo via Facebook/New England Patriots from B/R Have a question for Doug Kyed? Send it to him via Twitter at @DougKyedNESN or send it here. Filed under: Doug Kyed, New England Patriots, Top Stories
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Ronda Rousey knocks out Bethe Correia in 34 seconds

Ian Kennedy watches birth of daughter on FaceTime before start

Matt Williams wants Bryce Harper to stop getting ejected

Five most underrated players in the NFL

Larry Lucchino stepping down as Red Sox CEO

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Las Vegas Mob Museum to open FIFA corruption exhibit

Does NFL have a motive to settle with Tom Brady?

Big Ten coaches opposed to 9-game conference schedule

Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB trade deadline

Hill arrested for reckless driving, clocked going 107 mph

Diamondbacks GM: Padres wanted Goldschmidt for Kimbrel

Bobby Wagner, Seahawks agree to contract extension

Blount won't talk about reported failed conditioning test

Greg Hardy helps pay Cowboys fans to fly anti-Eagles banner

Report: 7-foot Aussie center to join Kentucky's 2015 class

Eagles trade CB Brandon Boykin to Steelers

Jack Del Rio: Crabtree ‘stood out’ at first Raiders camp practice

Browns owner: ‘We haven’t given up on Johnny Manziel’

Junior Seau’s daughter will speak at Hall of Fame induction

Golden State Warriors: the rich get richer

NFL, Brady could settle to avoid appeal documents going public

Miguel Herrera apologizes for costly Philly airport fight

Russell Wilson contract $60 million guaranteed? Not so fast

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Five most underrated players in the NFL

Five potential NFL salary cap casualties this preseason

Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB trade deadline

Pirates do Pirates at deadline: Neat little moves

Mets acquire Cespedes from Tigers

Ranking the NFL’s 32 head coaches

Five worst baseball trades since 2000

Examining the state of the NFL

Puig: Broke out of slump by playing baseball video games

Braves dump risk, exchange it for risk

David Price traded to Blue Jays

The indefensible Hulk Hogan

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker