Welcome to 20/20. As part of our continued Dynasty Scouts coverage and in preparation for the NFL Combine later this month, we’ll be profiling 20 of the top incoming rookies of the class of 2017 by giving you 20 facts you must know.
1.) Player Name – KD Cannon
2.) College – Baylor
3.) Height/Weight – 6-feet, 180 pounds
4.) Birth date – November 5, 1995 (21)
5.) Class – Junior
6.) College stats – KD Cannon actually had a much more productive freshman year than his massively hyped former teammate, Corey Coleman. Cannon grabbed 58 catches for 1030 yards and eight touchdowns in year one. His sophomore year he leveled off (while Baylor was featuring Corey to boost his draft stock) with 50 catches, 868 yards, and six touchdowns. This past year KD went crazy with 87 catches, 1215 yards, and 13 touchdowns.
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7.) NFL Draft round projection – Rounds three-five. It seems that any real football analysts are torn on where to take Cannon right now. His Combine and pro-day performances may help his stock. Cannon’s 40 should be 4.4 or better.
8.) Current NFL comp – Emmanuel Sanders. It’s clear that KD Cannon has deep speed like Manny. However, what stands out most when you watch them both is their ability to track and adjust to the ball on intermediate and deep passes (via several routes). Both will either destroy any cushion in a second or side step any press coverage and instantly be looking for the ball. KD doesn’t navigate the underneath routes as well as Manny, but he has the same natural athleticism. If he doesn’t land in a great spot right away his career path could even be very similar to Sanders as well.
9.) Best possible destination – Tennessee Titans.
The most important piece missing from the Titans offense is speed. They have some monsters at running back. Their offensive line can protect through two and three reads. Delanie Walker can muscle through the middle. KD Cannon would offer a new dimension that could stretch the field in two or three WR sets. Even if the Titans grab Mike Williams early in this year’s draft that could help draw attention away from Cannon. Plus he would be tied to a developing stud in Marcus Mariota for the next ten years.
10.) Worst possible destination – Kansas City Chiefs.
The quarterback for the Chiefs will be some combination of Alex Smith or some other check-down specialist for the next ten years. Not only would that be a horrible fit for what KD Cannon does, but Andy Reid’s offense just doesn’t provide trustworthy fantasy wide receivers. Chris Conley was technically the WR2 for the majority of the season and failed score even one touchdown. If Cannon lands with the Chiefs you basically can’t draft him.
11.) Best current skill – Tracking/Adjusting to the deep ball. The number of times that Cannon not only tracks the ball, but sets up his defender to fail is remarkable. He can position his body just right to finish plays that many wide receivers with his frame simply do not.
12.) Skill that needs to be improved – Beating physical corners inside on routes under 15 yards. Cannon can navigate his way through a zone underneath, but when he is forced to muscle his way inside the seam it doesn’t always end very pretty. His footwork and hand-fighting at the line to create space on underneath routes will be essential to his snap count early on in his NFL career.
13.) Past/Current rookie ADP – In our 2017 rookie ranks here at DLF, he is the 13th-ranked overall prospect in this class, and sixth wide receiver. If Cannon ends up going inside the third round in the real NFL draft and runs around a 4.38 like many believe he will this slot is probably pretty accurate. Keep an eye on his agility drills (20-shuttle and 3-cone) at the combine. Those will be crucial in assessing his ability to really contribute at all levels of the field.
14.) Projected dynasty value – KD Cannon looks like he’ll fit safely into the second round of most dynasty drafts. The only way he ends up as a rookie first round pick is if he has a perceived WR1 opportunity on his NFL team. The only way he drops out of the second round is if he goes somewhere like Kansas City or Los Angeles. In devy leagues he is a pretty safe player (value-wise) to try and acquire given the price tag. If his landing spot isn’t perfect you may be able to buy low in year two. Cannon will probably not explode right away given his room to improve as a blocker and underneath route contributor.
15.) Breakout age – Many dynasty owners like to see a wide receiver who can break out early. Why? That tends to project well for future success and development. Cannon compiled 36 catches for 714 yards and six touchdowns before he turned 19 (eight games into his freshman year). To put that into perspective, his teammate Coleman (the first receiver taken in last year’s NFL Draft) only grabbed 35 catches for 527 yards and two TDs his entire freshman season.
16.) Dominating the competition? – It doesn’t take long to notice Cannon’s knack for having ridiculous statistical games from time to time. There’s nothing wrong with that, until you realize it’s almost always against putrid competition. His games against Rice (nine catches, 213 yards, two TDs) and Texas Tech (12 catches, 132 yards, two TDs) in 2016 are two great examples of this. Rice and Texas Tech ranked 115th and 128th (dead last) in points allowed per game this season. He had some decent games against tougher competition in his career, but not as often.
17.) Speed freak – Cannon ran a 4.56 40-yard dash in high school. That would have already been an average time in the NFL combine for wide receivers last year. Three years and twenty pounds of muscle later, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if he ran a 4.39 or faster.
18.) Does he have the moves? – Cannon managed a 4.15-second 20-yard shuttle in high school too. What does that mean? He can stop, start and change directions completely really fast. The average time in the 20-yard shuttle at the NFL Combine for wide receivers is around 4.27 seconds. If he improves on this drill it projects well for his potential to improve on shorter routes.
19.) Boy needs to eat – If he does indeed measure in at 6-feet, 180 pounds he will be one of the scrawniest wide receivers to enter the NFL in the last three years. Cannon could definitely gain a few pounds and still be faster than 90% of wide receivers in this class. Let’s hope he does. Otherwise he may really struggle against more physical corners in the NFL.
20.) Remember, remember the fifth of November – This last one’s just for kicks and giggles. If you’re from the U.K. or have simply seen the movie “V For Vendetta” you may already know that November Fifth (Cannon’s birthday) is Guy Fawkes Day. Hopefully Cannon’s plot for a successful career in the NFL doesn’t fail as miserably as Fawkes’ plan to blow up Parliament.
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tis a deep class. Some are bound to be slept on. Distinguishing the proper sleepers is key, however.